The struggle to bring a faulty wind turbine into service at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center may soon come to an end.
The Department of Veterans Affairs late Friday afternoon announced the termination of an agreement with the lead contractor on the project, Massachusetts-based J.K. Scanlan Co.
The VA says the contractor failed to provide a fully functional turbine, and is now seeking compensation. Recourse could include removal of the wind turbine and recovery costs, according to the VA.
“The turbine was intended to provide the medical center with clean, reliable and renewable energy,” said St. Cloud VA Health Care System Director Barry I. Bahl. “We are disappointed that after three and a half years of time and effort, the turbine is not contributing to these efforts.”
Despite lengthy discussion, VA claims efforts to resolve issues with the contractor have been unsuccessful.
J.K. Scanlan Co. could not be reached for comment Friday.
Starting in 2009, the VA studied 14 sites across the U.S. for potential wind energy projects. Four sites were selected, one of which was the St. Cloud VAMC.
And thus a 164-foot-tall, 600-kilowatt turbine was built. Yet the $2.3 million machine has yet to make it out of the commission phase. Hydraulic and electrical troubles have plagued its systems since it went online in April 2011. Its massive blades haven’t generated power since August 2012.
Even after the hardships of the current project, VA says there is still hope for wind energy at the St. Cloud VAMC. Provided the technology and conditions are still feasible, VA says they would consider pursuing the installation of a new wind turbine.