NORMAL — A glitch with a transformer might delay when the wind turbine at Heartland Community College begins providing electricity for the campus.
“The transformer that was sent to us was not correctly put together for what we needed, but we have all the parties working to resolve that as quickly as we can and find the quickest solution we can for that,” college spokesman Josh Reinhart said.
The problem was discovered as preparation was under way for installing switches and the transformer over the holiday weekend. The work required shutting down power on campus.
Reinhart said, “The switch gear is in place and everything is fine with that.”
Delivery of parts for the turbine began in March and construction of the turbine was completed in April. The system has been undergoing checks since then. The transformer is an integral part of the system that allows power generated by the wind turbine to be used by the college.
Rob Widmer, Heartland’s vice president of business services, said it could take a few days or a few weeks to resolve the transformer issue.
He said the college is “looking at alternatives” and “continuing to pursue getting another transformer.”
Widmer said the incompatible transformer likely will be replaced at no cost to Heartland.
The overall project has a price tag of $5.2 million. Borrowing costs are expected to be covered by the savings from reduced utility bills, officials have said.
Widmer said once a compatible transformer is hooked into the system, a few days of testing will be required before everything is operational. Whether that affects the original schedule of generating electricity for the college by mid-June will depend on how quickly a substitute transformer is found.