FAIRHAVEN — Turbine tests may have been flawed in mid-October when no power was produced, Gordon L. Deane, president of Palmer Management Corporation, said in a letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection on Feb. 26. Palmer Management is the parent company of Fairhaven Wind LLC.
Mr. Deane said that while the “rotors began to spin at full speed when the turbines were turned on at those times … no power was produced during those time periods at the South Turbine.”
Mr. Deane sent the letter in response to an e-mail sent by Louise Barteau, who actively opposes the turbines, to DEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell about possibly flawed data from the evening of Oct. 14-15, 2012.
Mr. Deane’s letter was forwarded to The Advocate by Ms. Barteau.
In it, he said that “despite the rotor being engaged, no power was being produced at the South Turbine during several of the sampling periods between 12:10 and 4 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 15.”
He said the turbines were turned on, as requested by the DEP, but no power was produced.
Mr. Deane said that problem was probably caused by a “failure in the engagement of the power converter in the south turbine that occurred during the on-off switching for the sampling.”
A representative from Fairhaven Wind LLC is usually onsite during sampling or sound tests by the DEP. Mr. Deane said due to scheduling conflicts, the operation of the turbines was overseen by an acoustical engineer using a smartphone that evening.
“The acoustical engineer believed that the turbines were operating correctly because both turbines were visibly spinning,” Mr. Deane wrote.
He said the engineer was “not trained in turbine troubleshooting and was not expected to diagnose problems.”
Mr. Deane said his company performed “a cursory” review of other nights and did not see any similar errors during sampling periods.
He called the mistake a “mechanical error that was compounded by not having an extra set of experienced eyes on the turbine production data during the sampling period.”
In answer to any criticism, he said, “Fairhaven Wind adamantly denies that it or any of its representatives ever engaged in any action to seek to manipulate the test data during compliance testing.”
He added, “The turbines were tested and operated in plain sight of the MassDEP, the Fairhaven community and the media.”
Mr. Deane apologized for the “inconvenience that this error has caused on the noise testing. We all know how hard MassDEP, the Fairhaven community and Fairhaven Wind have worked to obtain viable sampling nights.”
He said he recognizes that the lack of power production from the south turbine might be unacceptable to the DEP and said Fairhaven Wind LLC would be “available to repeat this test, at MassDEP’s convenience when weather conditions allow.”
Laurel Carlson was out of the office this week until Wednesday. She did not respond by the Advocate’s deadline to a question about whether she will redo any tests to make up for the problem with the south turbine that evening. Louise Barteau submitted an accompanying article about her findings.
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