SACO – After a decade of greeting motorists as they crossed over the Saco River to downtown Saco, the York Hill wind turbine was torn down in late November.
The 100-foot-tall white structure had become a part of the city’s landscape.
The city installed the wind turbine, manufactured by the Colorado-based company Entegrity Wind Systems, in 2008. The cost to purchase and install the turbine was about $200,000.
The wind turbine came with a generous agreement from Entegrity Wind Systems, guaranteeing the turbine would produce 90,000 kilowatt-hours a year, valued at the time at about $12,800 and promising five years of free maintenance.
According to some city officials, the city decided to forgo a wind study before purchasing the wind turbine, as it had the guarantee in hand.
However, this guarantee became null and void when Entegrity Wind Systems went bankrupt in 2009.
The wind turbine never came close to producing the amount of energy promised, and without the guarantee in place, the city was not able to get compensated when the turbine didn’t meet expectations.
City Manager Kevin Sutherland shut down the wind turbine due to safety concerns in 2016.
After much research, it was determined that parts for the structure were unavailable. The city’s Energy Committee and city staff reviewed the situation, and recommended removing the turbine.
The wind turbine was taken down over a two-day period on the last week in November at cost of $20,000. The removal was performed by T Buck Construction, the company that had installed the structure in 2008.
The empty space was quickly filled by a community Christmas tree, and became the site of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 8 during Saco Main Street’s Holiday Festival.
According to an August press release by Liz Hartman, communications lead for the Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office, wind power in the United States experienced strong growth last year due to tax credits, various policies at the state level, and improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technologies.
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