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One Willmar wind turbine could stand still for weeks awaiting replacement part

WILLMAR – The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission last week received an update from staff about problems with Wind Turbine 4. It is inoperable due to a broken hydraulic pitch control board failure, which moves the turbine’s blades.

“It would spin out of control, which wouldn’t be a good thing,” said Brian Hoover, power plant foreman, during a report Feb. 12 to the Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission.

The part cannot be repaired, and a new one could take nearly 14 weeks to arrive.

“We foresee it standing still for a while, until that part comes in,” Hoover said.

One of the main issues facing Willmar Municipal Utilities when repairing and sourcing parts for the turbines is they are foreign-built. Also, DeWind, that company that supplied the turbines, no longer does business in the United States.

Staff is looking into developing a database of turbine resources, so when a part or service is needed, they’ll have a list of possible suppliers to turn too.

Wind Turbine 3, on the other hand, had a very good January, producing almost 400,000 kilowatt-hours of power.

Bids awarded

The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission last week also awarded bids for two major projects.

The commission awarded a $377,980 contract to Ziegler Power Systems to complete necessary exhaust particulate upgrades to four diesel generators.

The generators are only used for emergency power production, and for the past few years have only been run during tests. Once the upgrades have been completed, the generators will be in compliance both with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which oversees a large portion of the nation’s electrical grid, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

While the EPA is not requiring emergency production diesel generators to meet these exhaust requirements, MISO is.

A bid was also awarded Feb. 12 for the Priam substation project. Siemens Industry Inc. will provide a 69-kilovolt circuit breaker for the planned substation at a cost of $35,860.

The total project to construct the substation along state Highway 23 southwest of Willmar is estimated to cost $4.5 million.