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City utility shuts down operation of 2nd turbine

WILLMAR – The Willmar Municipal Utilities’ wind turbine No. 4 was shut down remotely by turbine supplier DeWind Company at the request of the utilities Monday evening. Wes Hompe, staff electrical engineer with the utility, requested the turbine be shut down.

Hompe said he was contacted by the public via utility energy services representative Dave Opsahl about a problem with the turbine. The public reported hearing a clunk sound every time the blades made one rotation.

The utility has two turbines – No. 3 and No. 4 – located just north of Willmar High School. No. 3 was taken out of service Friday due to the failure of voltage conditioning electronics.

When a DeWind representative arrives this week with parts for the generator power electronics in No. 3, said Hompe, the representative will also investigate the source of the noise. Hompe said No. 4 was shut down as a precaution to prevent any potential damage.

The turbine project had been under study by the Utilities Commission and staff for a number of years. On Aug. 4, 2008, the commission approved a turbine supply agreement with DeWind of Round Rock, Texas. Cost of the project including construction and installation was $10 million. The turbines have been in service since Sept. 3, 2009.