BAY CITY, MI – Students and staff at the Wind Energy Center at Kalamazoo Valley Community College has determined the cause of the malfunctioning wind turbine at the Department of Environmental Quality office in Bay City.
However, it could be months before the machine is up and running at the DEQ’s office, 401 Ketchum St.
Kevin King, chief of field operations facilities for the DEQ, said after disassembling the machine, the KVCC group discovered a gearbox failure. The college, which has the same model, Entegrity EW 50, on its campus, is taking the steps to fix the machine.
“The repairs to the DEQ turbine will be performed by students and with direct oversight of engineer instructors from KVCC,” King said. “The college has an identical unit and they are familiar with how to fix it.”
The college also plans on upgrading its turbine to better protect it from lighting strikes and could perform the same upgrades to the DEQ turbine. King said the college plans to upgrade its turbine in July, and the DEQ would wait to see the cost before performing the same upgrade.
“All of what will be done to the KVCC and DEQ wind turbines is custom work,” King said. “There is no pricing history to rely on for estimating this custom work. Therefore we must wait until KVCC is completed with their upgrade effort before DEQ can know what the overall end price to DEQ will be.”
King said the DEQ would likely know whether or not they would proceed with the upgrades by August.
Installed in September 2009 by Entegrity Wind Systems, the turbine stopped spinning in front of the DEQ’s Bay City site in 2011. Entegrity Wind Systems was declared bankrupt by a Canadian judge in October 2009, according to reports. The original cost of the turbine was $250,000.
In January, crews from Kent City-based Kent Power disassembled the tower. The DEQ’s contract with Kent Power to dismantle the tower was $19,475.
The project was put on hold while the DEQ underwent some reorganizing and remodeling in the Lansing location, King said.
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