CORPUS CHRISTI – Four wind turbines in a bayfront plaza that opened more than a year ago can’t keep a steady, rotating pace.
The salt, wind and harsh conditions have taken their toll, causing the wind turbines to quit working, Assistant City Engineer Kevin Stowers said.
“We did not anticipate they would have problems that quickly,” Stowers said. “Of course, the bayfront is difficult for mechanical equipment because of the salty air.”
The engineering department first noticed problems with the turbines last winter, about eight months after the plaza opened in April 2010. Two are in the repair shop.
The other two were reinstalled last month after undergoing several months of mechanical and superficial repairs.
The Gale wind turbines are under a five-year warranty, so repairs haven’t cost the city any additional money, Stowers said.
They were manufactured by a company called Tangarie Alternative Power, which has a distribution center in Vernon, where the city’s turbines are being repaired.
When the bayfront plaza was under design, local architect Raymond Gignac said the turbines would not only look cool, but also generate enough electricity to light the area.
The wind turbines weren’t part of the original $11.7 million concept for the park, but later were added by the City Council, along with a sitting area shaded with plants and vines, for a cost of about $5 million.
Taxpayers spent about $450,000 on the four wind turbines, which stand 35 feet tall and each produce about 5 kilowatts of electricity, Stowers said.
Voters approved the bayfront public plaza to be built along a stretch of Shoreline Boulevard adjacent to the American Bank Center.
The plaza was included in the 2004 bond election and is the first phase of the city’s Bayfront Master Plan.
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