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Repair resumes on wind turbines in Waverly

WAVERLY, Iowa – Nearly three years after a mishap caused by wind interrupted construction of twin turbines on the city’s east side – and a subsequent lawsuit against a contractor – Waverly Light and Power has resumed the project.

Early Tuesday, a massive crane lowered a long tubular section onto the foundation of Cannon II, the second of two towers going in.

Officials thought the project would be completed in 2009. The first turbine, Cannon I, went up without incident about a quarter-mile away.

The job on the second turbine ground to a halt after workers for Industrial Contract Services, based in North Dakota, placed a 17-ton rotor assembly atop the 246-foot tower. A blast of wind spun the blades prematurely, according to Waverly Light and Power, and all but the base of the turbine fell to the ground.

Waverly Light and Power filed a lawsuit against Industrial Contract Services the following June in Bremer County. That action further delayed the project, according to Diane Johnson, the utility’s general manager.

“The reason it’s taking so long is, as typically happens, the insurance companies that represent all the parties – the turbine manufacturer, the installation contractor, subcontractors – all got involved immediately and it became a pretty complex lawsuit,” Johnson said.

She declined to say what settlement the company is seeking through litigation but did note Waverly Light and Power hopes to recoup the $1.7 million cost of the project.

In the meantime, according to Johnson, a fund the company’s board set aside a number of years ago is covering the costs.

“We have not raised rates,” she added.

Johnson expects the lawsuit to wrap up early next year. The tower project is to be completed by September.

Shermco Industries, which is based in Irving, Texas, but has an office in Cedar Rapids, is now contractor for the project.