SCITUATE – After weeks of software troubleshooting and testing proved fruitless, owners of the 390-foot-tall wind turbine on the Driftway have resorted to replacing the power converter in the now-motionless machine.
Sumul Shah of Scituate Wind LLC – a partnership between Palmer Capital Corp. and Solaya Energy – told selectmen this week that the wind turbine is failing to synchronize with National Grid’s power grid. So while the turbine ramps up and can produce energy when turned on, it has been offline since June 22.
“It continues to trip on some error on the grid,” Shah said. “There’s some problem with reading how the grid is reacting.”
Gordon Deane, president of Palmer Capital Corp., said last week that the down time costs about $1,380 per day, or $57,960 total as of today.
Shah said the turbine’s three fuses failed in June, resulting in the failure of the original power converter. The turbine operator replaced the converter, but the machine still could not connect to the grid – prompting them to believe there is something wrong with the replacement converter.
“The converter we put in may have been damaged either in transport to us, or in the process of installing the new converter,” Shah said. “All signs lead to that.”
The turbine has not produced any electricity since June 22, according to Power Dash, a website that records the turbine’s energy production. It was also offline for more than two weeks in May because of an electrical issue.
The Chinese company Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. manufactured the turbine.
Shah said the operator started removing the replacement converter this week, a process which should only take a few days.
Al Bangert, former department of public works director, said the town’s contract with Scituate Wind LLC calls for a minimum production of 3 million kilowatt-hours per year. If the turbine fails to meet that requirement, Scituate Wind must pay the town 6 cents for each missed kilowatt-hour.
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