VAN WERT – Van Wert County Commissioners met in several meetings on Tuesday, one to discuss the possibility of decommissioning wind turbines. A request was made by residents of Delphos to obtain information about the process of decommissioning a wind turbine as well as to who is left with the cost when this happens.
After gathering information, Van Wert County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger reported that if a turbine is out of commission and does not spin for an entire year then the turbine must be decommissioned. While turbine specialists do not anticipate this happening, there is also the possibility that something may go wrong.
Decommissioning one of these large turbines can be very costly, leaving landowners with a turbine or turbines on their land wary. Along with tearing down this tall structure, the large base of concrete and steel securing the structure must be removed down to five-feet below the ground-surface.
In the Van Wert and surrounding areas, $650 million in turbine equipment are scattered across the terrain. Due to this immense amount of money invested in this technology, county commissioners do not expect to see a turbine left uncared for long enough for it to be decommissioned.
Commissioners did learn that a $5,000 bond is available for each turbine as well as a salvage value of $70,000-$80,000 per turbine to help meet the needs of decommissioning if it were required.
County commissioners also met with Charlie Kennedy to gain a legal opinion about the option of filing a suit against their current insurance carrier. While this route is not set in stone, it could be considered.
“We have to find a way to get that money back,” said Lichtensteiger about the $375,000 the county is being forced to repay due to a faulty grant process.
The 2014 budget was also reviewed showing the county $180,000 in the red.