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Fate of Perkins turbines up in the air

Perkins Schools’ turbine supplier has traced the latest mechanical failure to weak bolts the previous manufacturer provided.

ReDriven Power is willing to provide new, safer turbines and help arrange installation in a new location on school property.

But school officials must still decide whether to “get out of the wind industry in the short term,” as superintendent Jim Gunner put it.

Representatives from Perkins Schools, ReDriven, Honeywell and Engineered Process Systems are scheduled to meet this morning to discuss their options after a second mechanical failure on a turbine in two years.

Bolts securing a blade to the head of one turbine sheared abruptly last week, causing the blade to fall to the base of the structure. ReDriven engineers inspected the equipment and attributed the problem to SWG, a Chinese manufacturer whose products ReDriven had previously used, said Christopher Grant, president of ReDriven.

School board members must still decide what action to take, and they’re likely to discuss the issue at the 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday night at Perkins High.

Board members may decide to have the turbines removed, Gunner said, or they could choose to install fully updated, safer equipment at another location.

“We are very, very reluctant to start them back up in their current location,” Gunner said.