HANOVER – The blades on Hanover’s 165-foot wind turbine are spinning again, but not all issues have been resolved with the $790,000 turbine.
Originally slated for completion in February 2012, the machine lay dormant for nearly two years as issues with its tip-braking system, hydraulic temperature and twisting power cables prevented it from spinning to harness wind energy.
“Right now it is operating as it was designed,” said Timothy Stearns of Aeronautica Windpower, the town’s new contractor.
The turbine began turning again July 17 when the Plymouth-based contractor repaired the tip-braking system. The tip brakes prevent the tri-blade system from spinning out of control in heavy winds.
The turbine shut down from July 22 through July 28 so Aeronautica could replace brake pins on the turbines other two blades. Aeronautica engineers found that some of the turbine was improperly assembled and decided to replace all three tip brake pins as a precaution.
The last problem affecting the turbine’s function is twisting power cables, Stearns said.
“… The twist issue is not a function of the design. It’s a function of improper installation. … When the turbine chases the wind, the cables are becoming twisted,” he said.
Aeronautica deployed a safety mechanism that restricts the number of times the turbine can rotate in order to prevent further damage. The company is visiting the turbine weekly to untwist the power cables. Aeronautica is working with the turbine manufacturer, a German company called Siba, to address the issue.
Hanover Insurance has covered all costs associated with the repairs over the amount of the original bond.
Aeronautica has experience both in manufacturing turbines and in assembling them. Stearns said he is confident the turbine will generate $50,000 to $60,000 worth of electricity annually once all repairs are complete.
At town meeting in 2008, taxpayers approved an initial $500,000 bond to erect a turbine that would offset the electricity costs at the town’s Pond Street water treatment plant. An additional $500,000 was allocated at the 2009 town meeting after the size of the turbine was increased.
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