The turbine, a $4.1 million project, was expected to save the city $10,000 a month in electric. But City Manager Rick Pollitt says the turbine has never generated that much in savings.
“There was some original assumptions that the electricity produced would totally take care of our wastewater treatment plant and maybe even have some left over to sell back to the grid. That’s not happening, but we have seen a sharp reduction of our in house electricity bills by about two thirds,” Pollitt said.
Pollitt says the wastewater treatment plant costs around $12,000 a month to operate. But savings have only been as high as $8,996 last March, and as low as $2,080 last December.
“That’s all savings, that is money that can go back into other areas of the treatment plant, things that we might not have been able to afford before,” Pollitt said.
Shirley Parkinson says she was under the impression that her electric bill would go down, but it never has.
“I said well if it’ll save I’m glad it’s going up, but if not I mean what’s the use?” Parkinson said.
Pollitt says that was never supposed to happen unless there was excess electricity generated that could be sold to the grid.
Pollitt says a issue the city will soon face is taking over the operational costs the manufacturer will give up in year five.
“That’s clearly a concern, we’re going to have to take over the operation and the maintenance of the turbine in another year or so. So I’m hoping at the end of the day we’ll still generate some savings,” Pollitt said.
Pollitt says the city has started saving for when the turbine will have to be replaced down the road. The lifespan of a turbine is around 20 years, so by 2036 it will need to be taken down.
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