More than two and a half years after town officials had planned to see it up and running, the Hanover wind turbine is “more or less” operational, said Town Manager Troy Clarkson at Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting.
Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Clarkson said the turbine “has been operational with some regularity. It has been running for a couple of weeks.”
This is a major milestone in a project that has been beset by problems which have set the town at odds with the company it hired to assemble the structure.
The turbine, located at the town’s water-treatment plant off Route 53, was supposed to be operational by February 2011.
However, asked if the town has been able to record energy production from the turbine, Clarkson said: “That is one of the outstanding items we have to work out with the contractor.”
Clarkson said a meeting is planned next week where he and town counsel will discuss with the insurance company for the turbine contractor “ongoing maintenance and operations” of the turbine, in addition to daily fines the town has assessed based on the amount of the time the project has taken. The town hired Wilmington-based Lumus Construction as project contractor in 2010.
While the turbine went up in the summer of 2012, issues soon arose over getting its mechanics to function properly. Town officials attempted to fire Lumus from the project before being advised against it by bond counsel. The town then hired Aeronautica Windpower, a Plymouth company, to act as a consultant overseeing Lumus’ work.
“We continue to assess liquidated damages each and every day. I think we owe that to the taxpayers who paid for this project,” Clarkson said in a September interview.
Town Meeting in 2008 approved $500,000 for a wind turbine capable of producing power to run the water treatment plant on Pond Street, and another $500,000 a year later when the size of the turbine was increased. The town subsequently procured state grant funding to offset over half that cost. Lumus was the lower bidder on the project at roughly $790,000.