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Kensington wind turbine out of operation, again

It could be weeks before a problematic wind turbine in the Town of Kensington is operational, with repairs expected to be thousands of dollars.

The turbine, which powers Kensington’s wastewater treatment plant, is the same one that was of commission from January 2015 until the end February of this year.

The repair will cost an estimated $8,000 and an additional $4,000 in electricity to power the sewage treatment plant while the turbine is inoperable.

“It hasn’t been working for three to four weeks,” said Geoff Baker, the town’s chief administrative officer.

The turbine’s manufacturer, Northern Power Systems, believes the problem lies with a ribbon cable connecting one of the power converter modules to its controller.

If it isn’t the problem, one or possibly both of power control modules will have to be replaced, said Baker.

The manufacturer’s quote to do the repairs is $7,971 US.

“We’re anticipating that the repair will begin between the third and fourth week of August,” said Baker. “There has been a quote requested from another company to determine whether or not we can have the repair affected sooner.”

In January 2015, a faulty generator resulted in the 100-kilowatt wind turbine – commissioned by the town in 2009 – being out of service for more than 13 months. The cost for that repair was an $75,000 to $80,000, which was covered by the town’s insurer but didn’t include a $10,000 deductible and the $22,000 to $26,000 for electricity to power the treatment plant while the turbine was inoperable.

Baker said it is unfortunate that the town is once again facing a hefty bill – one that will not be covered by insurance this time – due to issues with the wind turbine.

“It is disheartening. The first five years there were no issues at all then we got hit with a major component failure,” he added. “I guess, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor maintenance issue. But, from our perspective, that’s a major cost.”