LINDENWOOD – Five years ago a wind turbine was erected at Eswood Elementary School with hopes to take the school off the grid and cover energy costs.
The wind turbine could be seen spinning in the wind, it never fulfilled its purpose or produced any energy for the school. Instead the turbine stood behind the school and was a nuisance and danger.
The windmill was installed in May 2012 by Dr. Mayberry who retired from the school in June 2012. The school did not pay for the turbine but could have saved thousands of dollars in electric bills had the wind turbine produced power.
The wind turbine was purchased by Winnebago County and installed by Rock Wind, LLC as a trial for the company as they made their first entry into the renewable energy market.
The school board voted to remove the wind turbine in June and the turbine was officially taken down this month.
Superintendent Joe Schwartz explained an incident in May was the last straw for the turbine that was always a hassle and never an energy saver.
On Wednesday, May 17, 2017 the turbine may have been struck by lightning and the braking systems failed. The turbine began to spin very fast (out of control) and continued until Thursday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. At least one blade was destroyed, as the braking system had failed,” explained Schwartz. “On Thursday, control was gained of the turbine and the turbine was yawed out of the wind to prevent it from spinning. Rockwind Inc. had Aero Energy put in a locking pin in the turbine [on Tuesday, May 23] to prevent the turbine from spinning as the braking system does not function.”
After the incident Swartz had to block off part of the school and outside area to prevent someone from getting injured as chunks were falling off the blade.
“The school board felt Rockwind had been given enough time to get the turbine working, and after the issue on [May 17, 2017], it was a matter of safety to remove the turbine,” he continued.
Schwartz and neighbors to the school are happy to see the wind turbine gone and not have to deal with the windy problem any more.
“After watching the turbine spin out of control on Thursday, May 18, 2017, it became apparent to me that the turbine should have never been erected near a school or community,” added Schwartz.
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