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Wind turbine heads to repair shop after manufacturing flaws are found

A major manufacturing flaw is causing one Portsmouth business owner to hope for a Christmas miracle.

The Hodges Badge wind turbine, expected to be the third turbine constructed in Portsmouth, was supposed to be spinning by Friday, Dec. 16. However, a recently discovered manufacturing flaw has caused a delay.

“When we put the tower up last Saturday, we got three tower sections installed, and we were trying to install the nacelle when we found out…The bolt holes in the tower don’t at all match the bolt holes on the bottom of the nacelle,” wrote Rick Hodges, president of the Hodges Badge Co.

The installers needed to bring down the nacelle and remove the tower’s top section. The tower was then shipped to All-Steel Fabrications, a shop in Grafton, MA, Monday for repairs.

At All-Steel, the workers will be “cutting off the 1.5/8” thick flange, making a new flange out of 1-3/4” thick high strength steel, and cutting the correct bolt hole pattern with their plasma cutter,” according to Hodges.

Rick is hoping to have the turbine’s tower back on Tuesday for a final installation on Dec. 21, weather permitting.

“I suppose that will be my Christmas present,” he said.

Following the commissioning of the turbine and acceptance by National Grid, the turbine will become the third in operation in Portsmouth, and the fourth on Aquidneck Island. In Portsmouth, a turbine is located at Portsmouth High School and another stands erected at Portsmouth Abbey.

The Hodges Badge turbine will measure 98 feet tall and has three 49-foot blades. Able to generate power at a wind speed of just nine miles per hour, the turbine is expected to cover the electrical needs of Hodges’ entire manufacturing operation.