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MWRA turbine stopped by sinking foundation

FOX UNDERCOVER – A landmark MWRA wind turbine has been stopped cold after just a few months of operation because the newly-built structure has been sinking into the ground.

Workers are now building a new foundation for the $5 million Charlestown turbine, visible from I-93, after the original one was found to be sinking an inch more than planned.

After a viewer asked FOX Undercover about the stalled turbine, we discovered it went online in October, but has been stopped since January.

We asked Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Executive Director Fred Laskey about the delay.

The structure, built mostly with federal stimulus money, is safe while it’s being worked on, Laskey said, and the contractor is paying for the repairs.

“What do you say to people that drive by and see this wind turbine not working?” FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked.

“I would say be patient,” Laskey replied. “It will be working and I also realize they and we are protected so that all the risk falls to the contractor and their insurance company.”

“Are you worried this project will be plagued with problems?” Beaudet asked.

“No,” Laskey replied. “Although this is a kind of bump in the road, I think in the end we’ll have this thing running and it will be in our rear view mirror before we know it.”

But the wind turbine’s down time has left it falling far short so far of its power-generating goal. It’s supposed to make about $350,000 worth of electricity a year, but so far it has generated about $117,000 worth of power because it’s been offline so much.

Laskey says the turbine should be back in operation next month.