A fly in the ointment of wind power has been discovered. The turbine installed at Portsmouth High School in March 2009 suffered a mechanical failure estimated to cost nearly a half-million dollars, (“Costs to fix turbine my wipe out profit”, July 16, news).
The company that installed the turbine, AAER of Canada, went bankrupt a year after installation, and left Portsmouth with no warranty. Even worse, the chief executive of the company hired to oversee maintenance of the turbine stated that gearbox failures occur in “10 percent of turbines nationwide”.
That 10 percent failure rate should be a cause of great concern, especially in light of the Deepwater Wind project approved by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission in August 2010. (Note: The PUC originally voted down the project, but then had that authority removed by the General Assembly, leaving them no choice but to approve it.) How many turbines are involved in that project? And if it costs nearly $500,000 to repair a turbine on land, how much would it cost to perform the same repairs on turbines miles offshore?
One can only assume that there’s a rider in the contract to allow for those costs to be passed on to the ratepayers, on top of the already exorbitant costs that National Grid will be paying for power purchased from Deepwater Wind.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding