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Turbine troubles cost Carleton College  

A blustery and windy day outside meant bad news for Carleton College’s profits.

The college hosts several wind power stations on its Northfield campus. However, one of the turbines needs repair.

“That should be spinning at just about maximum power generation,” said Rob Lamppa for Carleton College.

The problem is the blades of the turbine. They refuse to spin.

“It’s broken and basically it has a faulty gear box,” said Lamppa.

The school generates revenue from wind energy harvested by the turbine. The college sells the power to Xcel Energy.

Lamppa said the broken turbine usually creates enough power to run 500 to 600 homes daily.

The process to repair the turbine is not an easy one.

“[The] whole blade assembly has to be taken off and brought to the ground,” Lamppa said.

In order to remove the assembly, an enormous crane needs to be constructed. Fortunately, the school did have some luck.

“[The turbine] is still under warranty…it usually comes with a two year warranty,” said Lamppa.

The turbine generates about $230,000 annually for the college.


5 November 2007

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