BAYONNE – The city’s on-again, off-again wind turbine was fixed late last week and has since been back up and running, according to city Municipal Utilities Authority Executive Director Tim Boyle.
Workers from turbine manufacturer Leitner-Poma switched out a rotor brake part that had stopped working in early August with a new part that was shipped from Europe to Bayonne, Boyle said.
The turbine has a brake to prevent the blades from spinning uncontrollably in extreme weather. When Leitner-Poma, which remotely monitors the machine, detected that a part of the brake wasn’t working, it shut off the turbine.
Based on previous estimates provided by Boyle, the 260-foot wind turbine located at Oak and Fifth streets cost the city up to $25,000 in lost energy savings for the roughly month-long period it stayed unrepaired.
The MUA director has stipulated, however, that the monthly $25,000 figure is an average over the course of a year, as the summer is the slowest time of the year for wind movement and the fall and winter seasons are the fastest.
As for how much the repair of the turbine’s rotor brake cost, Boyle said the MUA has not yet received an invoice. He added that the MUA’s first priority was to fix the problem, and that the authority couldn’t have shopped for the part anyway, since only Leitner-Poma could have provided it.
“If there’s a question (as to whether the cost is reasonable), it’ll come up when the invoice comes in,” Boyle said.
The warranty on the wind turbine, which went into operation in June 2012, expired after one year. SUEZ, formerly United Water, monitors and maintains the turbine under a 40-year deal with the MUA, which maintains ownership of it.
Boyle has said he expects the repair of the rotor brake to be paid for through the MUA’s deal with SUEZ, which provides for $3 million annually for maintenance and capital improvements.
After costly delays, the turbine was repaired in March after breaking down in June 2015 due to a broken bearing that was part of the turbine’s generator. The turbine’s dormancy cost the city more than $200,000 in energy savings.
Meanwhile, the estimated cost of replacing the broken bearing was $298,000. As in August, Boyle repeated on Tuesday that the MUA is still in negotiations with Leitner-Poma over how much the MUA should pay for that.
He has previously said that the bearing that broke was supposed to last 20 years, but only lasted three.
When it was working, the turbine produced about 3.3 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power 600 single-family homes for a year.
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