CONNEAUT – In 2010, the city of Conneaut and the school district took a step toward renewable energy and wind turbines were constructed next to the wastewater treatment plant and the middle school.
The turbines came online in 2010, and were expected to provide power for Conneaut Middle School and Conneaut’s wastewater treatment plant.
The turbine at the wastewater treatment plant was struck by lightning in 2017 and has been idle ever since.
The city sued NexGen Energy Partners, LLC, and gained control of the windmill earlier this year.
The city sought bids to remove the damaged windmill.
The price to remove the windmill was $163,000 to remove the windmill itself and leave the concrete base intact or $183,000 to remove both the concrete base and the windmill.
The city is exploring other uses for the wind turbine, Council President Deborah Newcomb said.
The windmill at Conneaut Middle School has had issues since it was constructed. NexGen Energy Partners, the company that owned both turbines, alleged multiple design, manufacturing and supply failures in the initial lawsuit.
Nine years after the wind turbines were installed, the matter is still working its way through the court system, with a jury trial scheduled for January 2020.
In July, NexGen and the defendants, Elecon and Reflecting Blue Technologies, filed a number of motions and memos concerning the suit.
NexGen alleges the manufacturer claimed that the turbine had been certified by a regulatory body in India, and NexGen would not have purchased the turbine if it had known the turbine was not certified, according to court records.
The defendants are asserting that the company had a provisional certification to construct the turbines, according to court records.
A trial is scheduled for January 2020, with a pending motions hearing in October.
This is not the first time a trial has been scheduled in the lawsuit, though.
A trial was first set for 2012, with additional dates in ‘13, 15, 16, 18 and 19.
“We are hoping (the trial date) will stick,” said Bradley Barmen, an attorney for NexGen.
NexGen’s legal team are confident about its legal arguments, Barmen said.
When the turbines were first constructed, the city and the schools both signed agreements to purchase power from the turbines for 10 years.
The wind turbine now serves as a landmark for people looking for Conneaut Middle School, School Board President Joan Norton said.
NexGen Energy Partners could not be reached for comment on this story.
The legal team for Elecon did not respond to a request for comment.
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