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Repairs under way to big lakefront generator  

Credit:  By MARK TODD, Staff Writer, Star Beacon, starbeacon.com 21 December 2011 ~~

CONNEAUT – A blade on the lakefront wind turbine blasted by lightning this past summer was replaced over the weekend, but there’s no timetable for the big machine’s return to service, officials said Tuesday.

Contractors working on behalf of NexGen Energy of Boulder, Colo., quickly removed the scorched blade and affixed a new one in a procedure ably assisted by a gigantic crane, according to reports. Work began late last week, continued through the weekend and into the first part of this week.

Conneaut City Manager Timothy Eggleston has said he had been told once work began crews would need a week or two to make the 400-kilowatt generator fully operational. On Tuesday, Eggleston said he hadn’t been informed when the machine will officially return to form.

“The generator is up there and all the blades are up there,” he said.

A NexGen spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

The machine was knocked out of service in August when a bolt of lightning struck one of the wooden blades. The machine was shut down when the still-spinning blade began shedding some of the material that provides an all-weather coating.

NextGen installed the generator at the city of Conneaut’s waste water treatment plant in January 2010. It was designed to provide about 20 percent of the plant’s electricity needs. It had worked well until the lightning strike.

Another NexGen turbine – a larger, 600-kilowatt version – was erected in late 2009 next to the Conneaut Middle School. It has only worked sporadically because of hydraulic problems, officials have said.

The city and school district have no money invested in the construction of the generators. However, both entities have agreed to purchase some of the electricity they make for 10 years.

Source:  By MARK TODD, Staff Writer, Star Beacon, starbeacon.com 21 December 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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