March 7, 2012

Faulty generator to blame for Hull turbine shutdown

By Neal Simpson, The Patriot Ledger, 7 March 2012

HULL – Technicians are working on a faulty $200,000 generator that has kept the blades of Hull’s largest wind turbine still for most of the the last three weeks.

Richard Miller, operations manager for the Hull Municipal Light Plant, originally suspected a glitch in the software that operates Hull Wind II when the turbine stopped operating Feb. 16. But he said the turbine failed again shortly after the technicians from the manufacturer, Vestas, came to town to fix the software.

“Before they were even out of town, it kicked out again,” he said.

Miller said the manufacturer determined that there was something wrong with the turbine’s generator and have spent the last few weeks waiting for the parts needed to fix it. He said he expected crews to get the turbine up and running again by the end of the day Tuesday or sometime today.

Miller said any repairs would be covered by the light plant’s warranty for Hull Wind II, which is 330 feet tall and was commissioned in 2006. He said the town’s smaller turbine, which is twice as old, has already gone through three generators.

“I’ve had generator problems with both of them,” he said.

Hull built its first 40-kilowatt turbine beside Hull High School in 1985. After a 1997 storm damaged the turbine, the town replaced it with a much larger Hull Wind I in 2001.

Hull Wind II was built atop the town’s former landfill in 2006. At the time, officials said they expected it to generate 4.7 million kilowatt-hours, enough electricity for 750 homes.

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