FOREST CITY – A second wind for a second wind turbine.
The Forest City School District had hoped to install a second wind turbine near the existing wind tower, east of the high school and middle school buildings, about two years ago and last year, but price and other factors stopped that process.
Now, it appears a second wind turbine is a strong possibility because of reduced costs.
The district’s existing turbine provides about 44 to 46 percent of the district’s electricity, superintendent Darwin Lehmann said at the April 8 school board meeting.
“We could move this up to 90 percent, (with a second turbine),” Lehmann said.
A second turbine could “easily be paid off in 10 years…,” Lehmann said. The district will save money on utilities but will not need to take a loan to buy a second turbine because it as saved money to buy one, Lehmann said.
The board said Lehmann should continue to work with Decowicon, the maker of the school’s turbine, but also check with Aeronautica on a 750 kilowatt turbine and Nexco on the possibility of a different refurbished turbine.
Lehmann said Decowicon has a refurbished turbine available for an estimated cost of $60,000, which does not include installation and other costs.
“Two years ago, the purchase price was $130,000,” Lehmann said.
Not only has the purchase price decreased so has the cost to transport a turbine to Forest City, he said.
The estimated transportation costs to move the turbine to the school site is $170,000, Lehmann said.
“Last year, that was in the $230,000 to $260,000 range,” Lehmann said.
The purchase and construction cost is estimated at $480,000, Lehmann said.
The district would need to also pay for engineering and construction administration costs, other engineering services and a 10 percent contingency would also be included in the total project cost estimated at $563,816.00.
The district has set aside money from the one-cent sales tax revenue for about three years.
“We’ve already got $500,000 set aside for this purchase,” Lehmann said.
“I’m all for it,” school board member Gary Ludwig said. “I just want more information.”
Ludwig asked about the life expectancy of the district’s existing turbine.
“If we buy a refurbished one now, can we rebuild it in five years,” Ludwig said.
Lehmann said Decowicon does regular maintenance on the turbine now, which has added to the original 15 to 20 years of life expectancy.
“The one we have now has new parts and has been updated…,” business manager Steve Rollefson said.
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