CONNEAUT – City officials have not been informed when a wind turbine idled by a lightning strike last month will be repaired.
The turbine, owned by NexGen Energy of Boulder, Colo., has been shut down since a blade was hit by lightning at the end of August. The bolt blasted loose some of the composite material that covers the wooden blades and split the tip.
City officials have speculated a replacement blade would need to be installed.
The 400-kilowatt turbine was erected in early 2010 to provide electricity to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The generator satisfies about 20 percent of the plant’s electricity needs.
Operation of the plant has not suffered since the loss of the turbine, said City Manager Timothy Eggleston. The plant is being serviced through conventional power hookups, he said.
“We’re getting all our power through the grid,” Eggleston said.
The lightning strike damaged a control panel that monitored the power flow from the turbine to the plant, but did not affect the overall operation of the plant, Eggleston said. The city has contacted its insurance carrier, he said.
Officials at NexGen have not returned phone calls seeking comment.
The 400-kilowatt turbine is the second of two erected by NexGen early last year. The first, a larger 600-kilowatt machine, sits at Conneaut Middle School but has worked only sporadically because of hydraulic problems.
The turbines were built at no cost to the city or school district, which signed contracts agreeing to buy power produced by the machines for a 10-year period. They banked on NexGen charging lower rates than FirstEnergy.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding