Costing about $400,000 to purchase and install, the four wind turbines at Rim of the World High School may end up being just an expensive piece of modern art.
The four electricity-generating vertical axis wind turbines have been in place at the high school near the Performing Arts Center since 2012, but the California Division of the State Architect (DSA), which oversees all school construction projects in the state, said they may not be safe.
According to the DSA, Rim of the World Unified School District “has not yet done required testing and inspection of the welds connecting the base plate to the steel pole, nor the welding connecting the turbine plate to the top of the pole.”
DSA has informed the school district that in order for the project to obtain DSA certification, either the required weld testing and inspections will need to be performed, or the existing poles can be replaced with poles that have already had the proper inspections.
The question for the school district, already pinching every penny in its budget, is who will pay for the cost of the inspections.
“The district may be stuck with the bill,” one source close to the problem told the Mountain News.
Why? Because the district has signed off on the project, accepting that the work has been completed.
The manufacturer of the wind turbines is surprised that the state has not certified the project.
“My question is why was this not resolved prior to the installation? We don’t understand this,” said Scott Van Pelt, director of engineering for Urban Green Energy, based in New York.
“We have provided documentation that the welders are certified to U.S. standards, to prove that even though they (the support poles) were made in China, they were made to the same standards in the U.S.”
Van Pelt said he understood the information was provided to DSA.
“We are baffled about this,” he added.
Reportedly, the school district is trying to pencil out what it would cost to bring in a crane to remove the four steel poles, try to locate an expert who could test the welds, and what it all would cost.
Most likely, this reporter was told, the wind turbines and their support poles will come down soon and be stored at a district yard until the tests on the welds can be made.
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