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Idled turbine's costs could soar

Public utility officials may end up spending tens of thousands more than anticipated on a broken wind turbine. Traverse City Light & Power's towering wind turbine along M-72 in Leelanau County's Elmwood Township has been idle for more than three months. Officials originally said a failed generator bearing would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to repair. Then another problem arose.

TRAVERSE CITY -- Public utility officials may end up spending tens of thousands more than anticipated on a broken wind turbine.

Traverse City Light & Power's towering wind turbine along M-72 in Leelanau County's Elmwood Township has been idle for more than three months. Officials originally said a failed generator bearing would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to repair.

Then another problem arose, one that could cost the utility between $37,000 and $74,000 more than anticipated.

"We went up to do the repairs ... and once they took it apart they found more damages," said Ed Rice, Light & Power's executive director.

Workers discovered the broken bearing damaged the turbine's generator shaft.

Now Light & Power board members have two choices: They can opt to repair and rebuild the generator or buy a new one, Rice said.

Two companies bid on the work, including one that bid only on repairing the existing generator.

The low bid for damage repair came from TRICO TC Wind for $57,668. The same Minnesota-based company bid $94,070 to entirely replace the generator, while another company bid $66,608 to repair the damaged generator.

It costs about two-thirds the amount of a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TRAVERSE CITY -- Public utility officials may end up spending tens of thousands more than anticipated on a broken wind turbine.

Traverse City Light & Power's towering wind turbine along M-72 in Leelanau County's Elmwood Township has been idle for more than three months. Officials originally said a failed generator bearing would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to repair.

Then another problem arose, one that could cost the utility between $37,000 and $74,000 more than anticipated.

"We went up to do the repairs ... and once they took it apart they found more damages," said Ed Rice, Light & Power's executive director.

Workers discovered the broken bearing damaged the turbine's generator shaft.

Now Light & Power board members have two choices: They can opt to repair and rebuild the generator or buy a new one, Rice said.

Two companies bid on the work, including one that bid only on repairing the existing generator.

The low bid for damage repair came from TRICO TC Wind for $57,668. The same Minnesota-based company bid $94,070 to entirely replace the generator, while another company bid $66,608 to repair the damaged generator.

It costs about two-thirds the amount of a new generator to fix the old one, so "we might as go with a new one than a reconditioned one," Rice said.

The project will be financed by Light & Power's capital improvement fund. The turbine will generate enough electricity to pay the expense in less than two years, Rice said.

The repair process lagged because the manufacturer is in Europe and replacement parts took time to find and ship, Rice said.

Light & Power erected the 180-foot-tall windmill about 13 years ago and it generates just a fraction of energy used by public utility's customers.

Utility board members will decide whether to repair or replace the turbine's generator at a regular meeting today at 5:15 p.m. at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Ave. in Traverse City.


Source: http://www.record-eagle.com...

JAN 12 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24098-idled-turbine-s-costs-could-soar
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