November 21, 2015

El Doradoans fed up with broken wind turbine

By Ben Jordan | KAKE | Nov 19, 2015 |

Even through the windiest days recently, blades on a multimillion dollar wind generator in El Dorado haven’t moved at all.

What was intended to save residents millions of dollars hasn’t worked in nearly a year. For the past ten months, patience has turned into frustration as the wind turbine at the city’s waste water treatment site sits idle.

“It’s a very sad shame because when that thing is rolling not only is it pretty and impressive, but it’s doing its job so it looks like we’re going to have to fork up some more on our electric bills,” said El Dorado resident Kay Fisher.

Residents aren’t the only one’s upset as the seasons go by with no energy output from the turbine.

“We’re certainly disappointed in the product we got,” said El Dorado Director of Public Utilities Kurt Bookout.

Bookout was part of the effort to put up the wind turbine several years ago to cut energy costs at the treatment plant.

“Unfortunately if we had the right wind turbine it would be offsetting most of our electrical costs today,” Bookout said.

The turbine that originally cost the city around a million dollars isn’t working right now because of bearing issues which is a problem they’ve faced in the past. This time the fix could cost nearly half a million dollars.

“The question is if we fix it now, would it continue to run and be dependable and I think that’s where we have some doubts,” said Bookout.

Bookout tells KAKE News that the city is looking into taking legal action against its consultant.

“The problem is we just didn’t pick the right model, our consultant didn’t pick the right model and it’s had some difficulties,” he said.

Until a decision is made, the treatment facility will continue to use Westar Energy and a backup generator for power. If the city chooses to pay for the repairs, it will be funded by increasing waste water rates.

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