Independence Wind Operations Manager, Benjamin Cleaves, has informed Kingston town officials that the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) turbine has been shut down indefinitely due to a possible defect in the equipment. The turbine has been plagued with problems on and off since 2012 due to reasons ranging from blade failure and lightening strikes to brake pad replacement. For the last three months an unknown mechanical failure has raised concerns. Cleaves' letter to the town is provided below.
This latest shut down comes on the heels of a December 2015 meeting with the Kingston Selectboard where Cleaves and other representatives of KWI asked to renegotiate the power purchase agreement with the town since the wind resource at the site has proven less than expected. According to minutes from the meeting (attached to this page), "KWI needs a rate of 18 ½ cents (per kilowatt hour), but even at 18 ½ cents, KWI cannot make tax or lease payments to the Town." Cleaves informed the Board that KWI's "lending agreements are prohibiting them from making lease payments or giving the Town credits under the power purchase agreement."
At the December meeting, it was also reported that KWI made no lease payments since July 2015 nor had it credited the Town for monthly net metering payments received from Eversource beginning with the June/July 2015 statement.
Town Counsel Jason Talerman instructed KWI representatives that they were to make good on their lease and tax payments by January 15, 2016 and to sign the decommissioning surety by that date. The surety for decommissioning has been outstanding since the project was placed in service in 2012. Minutes from Selectboard meetings since December 2015 do not mention KWI's payments or the power purchase agreement..
KWI letter to Town of Kingston
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2016 11:48 AM
To: Thomas Bott (Kingston, Ma Town Planner)
Subject: Yaw System Defect / KWI Turbine
Dear Mr. Bott,
I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to let you know that KWI will be offline indefinitely due to an ongoing design / manufacturing defect with the yaw system.
This is the same problem that we were forced to go offline for when we last emailed back in April, and the origin of the issue actually goes back to mid-November at which point the full scale of the issue was not clear.
Since then we have been trying to restore the turbine to a normal operating state via multiple repair attempts and a major component replacement, but we have yet to succeed. At times the problem appeared to go away, only to resurface a few hours or days later. The manufacturer has also been unable to address the yaw defect. Hyundai has sent 3 different technicians on two separate occasions and the turbine remains inoperable.
Given the extent of our efforts and the inability of the manufacturer to repair the defect we have no choice but to shut the turbine down and declare it as defective until such time as the manufacturer and designer can resolve the situation.
Because of this, we would also ask to formally suspend the compliance notifications until such time as operations are possible.
The notifications are more-or-less redundant at this point since a broken turbine is inherently compliant. If this is amenable, I will send out a formal notice of suspension of operations at the usual time this evening.
In any case I am sorry for the bad news. I will let you know as soon as any progress is made, and please let me know if you have any questions.
Independence Wind Projects
+1 206 420 6670 (w)
(Special thanks to friends in Massachusetts for informing windaction.org of this on-going situation)