The south wind turbine off Westminster Road is producing energy again after being out of commission for almost a year.
It took 12 tractor-trailer trips to deliver parts for the 600-ton crane needed at the Princeton Municipal Light Department wind site to replace the gearbox that failed in August 2011.
A new, 37-ton gearbox from Germany was shipped to Boston earlier this month and trucked to the site. Once the crane was assembled, technicians were lifted inside a cage, 300 feet high, to prepare the turbine blades for removal.
“It took five hours to get the hub off,” PMLD Manager Brian Allen said. “The wind blowing the blades pinched bolts on the other side of the hub, making it very difficult to get them loose.”
On Monday, June 11, the top was lifted off the turbine, the old gearbox was lifted out and down, and the new gearbox was installed. Then the hub and blades were put back.
PMLD installed the two 1.5 megawatt wind turbines on 215- foot towers in October 2009, and they became fully operational in January 2010. The cost to install them was $7.3 million, and they have an expected life span of 20 to 25 years.
During a maintenance check last summer, it was discovered that oil from the gearbox contained pieces of metal.
The old gearbox was shrink wrapped and placed in a locked container for the trip back to Germany, where it will be examined to see why it failed.
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