DEQ official says organization still waiting on price to determine future of wind turbine at Bay City office
BAY CITY, MI – While officials from the Department of Environmental Quality know the cause of the malfunctioning turbine at the Bay City office, the cost of possible repairs and upgrades remains up in the air.
In May, Kevin King, chief of field operations facilities for the DEQ, said the Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College determined the cause of malfunction, a gearbox failure. The college, which has the same model turbine as the Bay City office, Entegrity EW 50, was performing upgrades on their machine, hoping to limit the wear and tear.
On Wednesday, King said the college has the upgrades working in the laboratory, but do not yet know how much it would cost to apply the changes to a machine.
“They’re approaching completion. Now it’s a matter of finding out what the cost is going to be,” King said.
He said the earliest he expects to know about possible costs is September.
“I can’t imagine them knowing the price for the next couple months,” King said. “They have to figure out what it’s going to cost, parts and supplies.”
The turbine was installed at the 401 Ketchum St. location in 2009 by Entegrity Wind Systems. Entegrity Wind Systems was declared bankrupt by a Canadian judge in October 2009, according to reports. The original cost of the turbine, which stopped spinning in 2011, 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 is $19,475.
In March, King said the department has a few options, including repairing the machine, purchasing a new turbine or scrapping the tower. King said the department is also considering replacing the broken part with a stronger material, like steel, or converting the structure into a cell phone tower.
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