BAYONNE – The massive blades of the city’s dormant wind turbine have been lowered to the ground as workers continue to carry out repairs that began last week.
Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority Executive Director Tim Boyle said today that it’s taking workers “a little bit longer” than expected to switch out the turbine’s broken bearing with a new one.
“It’s taking longer because they’re doing it in a field environment instead of a laboratory or a controlled interior environment,” he said.
The turbine’s three blades had to be lowered to the ground by an enormous crane last Thursday in order for workers to get access to the bearing that needs to be replaced, Boyle explained.
The 260-foot turbine at Oak and Fifth streets has lost the city over $200,000 in energy savings since it broke down last June. It was originally scheduled to be repaired in November, but repairs were delayed multiple times.
Every month that the turbine goes unrepaired costs the city roughly $25,000 in energy savings, Boyle has said. Assuming the turbine is fixed by the end of March, the money lost in energy savings would total about $225,000.
SUEZ, formerly United Water, monitors and maintains the turbine under a 40-year deal with the city MUA, which maintains ownership of it.
Boyle has said repair work on the turbine is weather-dependent because if winds are too blustery, attempting to remove the blades would be dangerous. The ongoing work isn’t expected to affect traffic in the area, he said.
The MUA official has said questions about what caused the turbine to break down, and who will be paying for the repair work and replacement part are premature, given that the broken bearing still has to examined by engineers.
Boyle said Leitner-Poma America, based in Colorado, is leading the repair work on the turbine. Leitwind, an Italian manufacturer of wind turbines affiliated with Leitner-Poma America, is the company that made the turbine.
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