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Algona wind farm faces changes

Maintenance issues have plagued the project over the last few years. Today, the owners are faced with repair costs of up to $100,000 to keep the turbines in operation. 

After 18 years of providing energy to the consumer owners of Algona Municipal Utilities, the partners of the Iowa Distributed Wind Generation Project are considering decommissioning the three wind turbines southeast of Algona. At the same time, AMU is evaluating new opportunities for renewable energy from wind and solar.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Algona Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees voted to approve and authorize the IDWGP owners to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for decommissioning and the sale of the assets of the wind turbines. The IDWGP partners have already taken steps to cease generation of the three 750 KW Zond wind turbines to preserve the value of the assets.

The final decision on the RFP and decommissioning of the wind turbines will be made by the IDWGP owners in December. Work on the Request for Proposal will take place over the next few months with hopes of moving forward in 2016.

Maintenance issues have plagued the project over the last few years. Today, the owners are faced with repair costs of up to $100,000 to keep the turbines in operation. In addition, it has been increasingly difficult to get qualified technicians to assist AMU staff.

“Most technicians are trained for newer technology, and there is always a steep learning curve each time a technician arrives on site,” said John Bilsten, general manager of AMU. “It has also been difficult to find repair parts as the units are no longer in production and the original manufacturer is out of business.”

None of the three turbines are running at this time due to maintenance issues and repair costs. Bilsten explained that the group would look at both solar and wind to replace the old turbines, which created up to 750 kw.

“Eighteen years is old in this business,” said Bilsten. “New wind turbines create up to 2.5 megawatts of power.”

The project is owned by Cedar Falls Utilities, Algona Municipal Utilities. City of Estherville, City of Fonda, City of Westfield, Ellsworth Municipal Electric and Montezuma Municipal Light and Power.

In late 1997, the IDWGP consortium entered into a 20-year agreement to construct, own and operate the facility as co-owners. Algona Municipal Utilities purchases 100 percent of the energy produced by the project, which came online in 1998. Algona Municipal Utilities has the contractual responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the units, but the joint owners share all costs. Cedar Falls Utilities is the administrative party for the project, being responsible for banking, vendor payments and insurance.


Source: http://algona.com/articles...

NOV 30 2015
https://www.windaction.org/posts/45633-algona-wind-farm-faces-changes
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