A project to save P.E.I. rinks electricity costs by installing wind turbines is proving to be more of a burden than a boost for three of the four rinks.
One rink wants the $70,000 residents invested returned and the turbine removed.
Jeff Reynolds, board director for Northumberland Arena in Murray River, said the project manager, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, told him the rink could save at least $1,200 a month on its electric bill. In December the savings were about $17, said Reynolds.
He regrets convincing Murray River and Murray Harbour residents to buy in.
“[We] went to these towns and asked them to put up $35,000 a piece to get this project to go forward,” he said.
“If we could get our money back and have the turbine taken out of there we’d be very happy.”
Reynolds has heard a number of possible reasons from the institute why the turbine isn’t performing as well as expected, including poor placement, cold weather, and less wind.
But Murray River is not alone. Alan Rennie, a board member for the rink in Alberton, said that rink is having similar problems. Rennie was expecting $15,000 worth of electricity a year, but is getting about a third of that.
“It’s not paying for itself so we’ve got to take out of our operating budget money to pay for this thing,” said Rennie.
“We’re cutting as many corners as we can to keep up with our expenses, but it’s certainly a burden.”
Rennie says the Wind Energy Institute has been doing some testing trying to figure out what’s wrong. He said if the problems aren’t resolved the rink may ask the province for compensation.
The manager of the rink in Kensington says its wind turbine is also only producing a third of what was expected.
The province promoted the project, investing $100,000 in each of the turbines. That was in addition to the $70,000 invested by the communities and $80,000 from the federal government. Provincial government officials declined to comment, saying the Wind Energy Institute managed the project.
Calls made by CBC News to the institute were not returned. CBC News also called Seaforth, the turbines’ manufacturer, but those calls were also not returned.
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