Lawyers for Gestamp Wind of Houston, Texas, owners of the Roth Rock Wind Farm, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Baltimore against Alliance Resource Partners on Oct. 20.
The complaint asserts that “fugitive dust” from Alliance’s nearby Mettiki Coal processing plant is coating the farm’s wind turbines and clogging air-condition units with toxic matter, leading to expensive equipment failures and revenue losses.
The source of the dust, Gestamp contends, is an ever-growing coal refuse pile located 350 yards from the farm.
“Mettiki has undertaken no measures to prevent its toxic coal dust from leaving the refuse pile and reaching the wind farm,” the court document states.
Included in the complaint is a picture of turbine blades allegedly covered with damaging coal dust. Wind farm officials contend that, despite regular cleaning, nine blades have experienced extensive damage and an air-condition unit in one of the farm’s 22 turbines failed because of dust accumulation.
The complaint notes that it costs about $400,000 to replace one turbine. This includes $200,00 for a new blade, the loss of service for three days, and the cost of a crane to hoist the blade into place.
Gestamp officials estimate the dust has cost them $219,000 since 2011. They also contend that given the pile’s current height, 65.8 meters, their annual losses will be $103,000. If the pile increases to 97.5 meters, however, they calculate they will lose $142,248.68 annually.
The wind turbine company is seeking a total of $225,000 for counts of trespass, negligence, and nuisance.
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