March 4, 2011

Wind turbine at VA delayed because 1 blade damaged

By Dave Aeikens, St Cloud Times, 4 March 2011

Construction of a wind turbine that would provide up to 15 percent of the electricity at the St. Cloud VA Health System has been delayed because of a broken part.

The 600 kilowatt turbine is almost 200 feet tall and was due to be completed by the end of January. One of the blades was damaged during shipping and new parts will not arrive until the end of March, said Barry Venable, a spokesman for the VA center.

“It’s delaying the project by a couple months. The important thing is we are not putting up damaged goods. We are waiting on proper assembly. We want the thing to operate safely, of course,” Venable said.

Blades are shipped in pairs, so workers are awaiting for the arrival of a new set of blades, Venable said.

The tower and the gear that holds the blades, called a nacelle, are already in place. The blades need to be attached to the nacelle to complete the project.

The wind turbine costs $2.3 million and will provide up to 15 percent of the power to the 200-acre campus and allow the St. Cloud VA Health System to meet federal energy guidelines. President Barack Obama directed VA centers to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015. A 2005 federal law requires all federal agencies to draw 7.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2013.

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