LYNN – The Lynnway wind turbine is broken and Lynn Water and Sewer Commission officials are placing the blame for the breakdown on the freezing weather.
Commission Operations Director Robert Tina said a three-foot round rotor inside the turbine’s generator box mounted 190 feet off the ground cracked during tests conducted on the turbine in late January.
He said sensory equipment inside the generator shut down the turbine after detecting a vibration probably triggered by the cracked rotor.
“For the two days it ran, it ran perfectly,” he said.
Tina said the crack probably occurred during an emergency shutdown test. He said the test heated the rotor’s surface even as outdoor temperatures were below zero.
“That’s one of the speculations,” he told commissioners this week.
The turbine’s 75-foot-long blades have remained idle since the breakdown, and Tina said Water and Sewer workers are waiting for repair parts to arrive from a Colorado manufacturer before a repair contractor fixes the turbine.
Work is scheduled to begin on Feb. 18 and take about a week. The generator box is packed with turbine equipment, forcing workers to make repairs in cramped conditions. After the work is done, workers from a machine balancing company will use lasers to fine tune the turbine for smooth operation.
“It’s a tough job,” Tina said.
Located next to the sewage treatment plant at the end of Commercial Street extension, the turbine is designed to cut the plant’s electricity use by one-fifth, he said.
The plant uses 14 million megawatts of electricity a year. By contrast, the average home uses about 9,000 kilowatts annually.
The plant’s reduced electricity use translates into a $100,000 annual savings to ratepayers, Tina said.
Wind turns the turbine’s three 75-foot-long blades and the generator sends electrical power to a transformer mounted next to the tower’s base.
The turbine cost $1.8 million, but state grant money and other assistance reduced the price tag to about $700,000, according to commission officials.
The turbine faced production assembly delays after the commission and a Saugus firm parted ways over the project. The company holding the performance bond for the project assumed costs associated with its completion, and it will also cover repair costs associated with the cracked rotor.
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