A 100-foot tower supporting a wind turbine at Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett collapsed during a nor'easter, Tuesday.
Articles filed under Structural Failure from Rhode Island
“I think it would be really disastrous for us to take it down for a number of reasons,” Town Planner Gary Crosbysaid. “Our taxpayers would have to continue to pay the loan off, plus it wouldn’t be good for the wind industry as a whole to have a failed project like this.” However, he said, if the town gets the turbine running again, the operation won’t be the money-maker that it originally set out to be.
The 1.5-megawatt turbine was commissioned in March 2009 but was shut down June 18, 2012, after the gearbox showed significant wear. The faulty gearbox was no longer covered by warranty, and the manufacturer of the turbine, AAER Wind Energy of Quebec, is no longer in business. Three of five turbines of the same make and model erected in California and Templeton, Mass., also suffered gearbox failure.
Gearbox reliability continues to dog the wind industry and as turbines become larger the push to improve performance becomes paramount.PORTSMOUTH - By a near-unanimous vote, the Town Council decided Oct. 23 to seek a public-private agreement to fix the town's broken wind turbine.
The company that installed the turbine, AAER of Canada, went bankrupt a year after installation, and left Portsmouth with no warranty. Even worse, the chief executive of the company hired to oversee maintenance of the turbine stated that gearbox failures occur in "10 percent of turbines nationwide".
For three years, the $3-million windmill fulfilled that promise, making the town about $400,000 after maintenance and debt payments. ...the turbine's gearbox needs to be replaced for at least $460,000 -- completely erasing those three years of income.
The problem seems to be a relay switch which has been repeatedly switching off for reasons unknown, said Mr. Crosby who has overseen the town's wind turbine project. ...The situation is complicated by the bankruptcy earlier this year of AAER, the Canadian firm that supplied the wind turbine to Portsmouth and provided the warranty protection.