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Wray wind generator fails to produce juice

One of the projects touted as an example of green energy – supported by the purchase of carbon offsets from the Democratic National Convention – isn’t working, according to an online report.

Face the State, a Web site that follows politics in Colorado, reported this week that a wind turbine in Wray has not been able to produce electricity since it was erected in February because of a faulty converter .

“We flipped it back off and on about 10 times since then,” Ron Howard, Wray school superintendent, told the site. “It has run, it will run, but it won’t ramp itself up to full capacity.”

Howard declined to be interviewed Tuesday evening by the Rocky Mountain News.

In February, the Wray School District, which has about 2,500 students, dedicated the 330- foot-tall turbine, which sits about a mile from Wray High School. The district had invested $1 million in the project.

The 900-kilowatt windmill, with 80-foot blades, was expected to provide one-fifth of the town of Wray’s power needs and generate about $40,000 to $100,000 a year for the school district. However, residents told Face the State that while the blades of the wind turbine can be seen turning at times, it is not producing electricity.

This month, the DNC announced its Green Delegate Challenge, in which delegates from all 50 states were asked to purchase green credits from NativeEnergy, a Vermont-based broker, to offset carbon dioxide that would be generated by the convention. NativeEnergy would then use the money to invest in four “green energy” projects, including the wind turbine in Wray.

At least one local politician criticized the program. “Most of the people were very excited by it,” State Sen. Greg Brophy, R- Wray, told Face the State. “But nobody likes to be misled. The ‘green’ DNC convention is an absolute sham.”

By Tillie Fong

Rocky Mountain News

30 July 2008