The wind is blowing in Hanover, but the blades on the town’s wind turbine have stalled once again.
The turbine, which stands 165 feet above Route 53, went offline two weeks ago after a leak was found in its cooling system, Aeronautica Windpower Chief Operations Officer Tim Stearns confirmed Friday. It was operational for just three and half months.
The radiator malfunction is the latest in a slew of setbacks plaguing the turbine that was initially slated for completion in February 2011.
“It appears to us that during the installation, it got banged,” Stearns said, explaining that several of the radiator fins were flattened, allowing a minimal amount of oil to leak out.
Technicians discovered the problem during a routine weekly check of the turbine’s mechanical function and immediately stopped the turbine. The leak was slow, but could have eventually triggered the turbine’s sensors for an automatic shutdown, Stearns said.
“The sensors are there to indicate issues and shutdown prior to an issue becoming fatal,” Stearns said.
A new part is in route for replacement and Stearns said the turbine could be back online by the first week in December.
The turbine is currently under warranty and the town is incurring no additional cost for the continuing repairs as the surety agency, Hanover Insurance, has covered all costs associated with the repairs over the amount of the original bond.
Prior to identifying the problem, Stearns said the turbine was generating more power than expected.
“Throughout September, October, and into November, it was exceeding the power curve that was supplied for [power generation] estimates,” he said.
Power from the turbine is being harnessed to offset the price of operating the town’s water treatment facility, which costs about $120,000 in electricity per year. Officials hope the turbine will offset $60,000 of that bill.
Town offices were closed as of press time and calls regarding how much of the bill had been offset to date were not returned.
The two-year warranty will begin once final repairs have been completed and Stearns said turbines like Hanover’s typically have a 20 to 25-year lifespan.
“We’re excited about the machine overproducing. It’s great and once we get the final inspection from manufacturer done, we look forward to 20 years of standing operation,” he said.
India-based manufacturer Siva will visit Hanover by the end of the year to certify that repairs and assembly of the machine are correct.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding