After discussing collected bids for replacing their wind turbine with a remanufactured identical model, the Clay Central-Everly school board voted to reject the bids and open the turbine up for public purchase.
“If we reject all of the bids, we can advertise it for sale. We get rid of it,” Board President Scott Rinehart said.
“As a school, we should be focusing on children and education and not about a wind turbine,” board member Curt Langner said.
Two bids were submitted to replace the existing turbine. BroadWind Services would install a Micon 108 model for $210,000. Harold Prior, owner of First Priority Consulting Group and executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association, noted purchasing the Micon 108 model would void the district’s 33-year agreement with Alliant Energy.
Broadwind Services also bid to dismantle the existing wind turbine for $37,600.
The second bid to replace the turbine came from Talk, Inc., for $109,000. This bid included a one-year complete warranty and a $1500 maintenance package for five years.
“We’d take an oil sample every year, and change out the gear box every five years,” Talk, Inc. President Adam Suelflow said. “Ninety-five percent of the maintenance is visual inspection. There’s not a whole lot to it, but we’d want to catch something before it breaks.”
Prior noted Talk, Inc. has performed over 100 installations, including 15 in Alaska.
“The vast majority of our work is remanufacture,” Suelflow said. “When we build a machine, we want it to last 20 to 30 years. We don’t want to have to keep traveling up to Alaska for maintenance issues.”
Suelflow continued. “Obviously, I’m in the business of installing and running turbines. But it would be a shame to see a good concrete pad and all of the electrical work go to waste. I’d love to see the turbine run again.”
“Our goal was to help solve a problem,” Prior said, “however that problem needed to be solved.”
A majority vote approved opening the turbine to the public for sale. Board member Dave Saboe opposed the motion.
“It’s the safest option,” Board Member Brian Schmidt said.
“We’re not in the power business,” Rinehart said. “We’re in the education business.”
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