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Broken Wind turbine 101

I’m sure the citizens have noticed by now the broken wind turbine at the Conneaut lakefront due to a lightning strike a few months back. Most would probably agree its not a very tourism friendly site on our lakefront and efforts should be made to correct the situation.

We can look at some possible solutions. We could advertise during the D-Day event that the wind turbine along with our city streets were collateral damage during an air strike … or we can look at the situation a bit further.

The city is under a current contract from NexGen to provide partial electric service to the sewer plant. The turbine was damaged and was estimated $250,000 to repair. The city sewer customers are saving 25 percent now on electric with the wind turbine damaged. Yes … not working is saving the sewer customers money.

The city manager mentioned the wind turbine had “merit.” The sewer department electric is funded by the sewer department enterprise fund, supported by city customers. When poor decisions or contracts are made, sewer customers unfortunately pay with more rate hikes. Here are the records for the energy costs of the turbine for the past five years:

• 2013 – NexGen was 24.27 percent higher than the city’s current supplier

• 2014 – 41 percent higher

• 2015 – 12.30 percent higher

• 2016 – 14.94 percent higher

• 2017 – 19.73 percent higher

Where is the merit? The sewer customers have compensated for the loss for the past five-plus years and shouldn’t suffer 13 more years of the same.

NexGen has proposed making the repairs if the city would grant a contract extension for years 2021-2030. Really, are we even holding them to the current contract? Was there any insurance protection? Has anyone mentioned the non-functioning turbine at the schools on Gateway Avenue? I don’t believe that turbine ever worked!

This is a company that smells of failure. Why would the city leaders even entertain a thought of a new contract? It’s their equipment, their responsibility and they are struggling to fulfill the current contract.

During the course of a records request, I learned a poorly negotiated electric contract will cost the sewer users an extra 1 percent increase to keep the budget in line.

This is a no-brainer (hopefully) for city council. Tell NexGen to abide by the current contract and when it expires tell them goodbye. Please, city council, don’t hide behind green energy, it won’t work on this one.

Until then, lets go with my D-Day proposal at the beginning!

Dave Campbell

Conneaut