CONNEAUT – Work has begun on the demolition of the wind turbine in Conneaut’s harbor, more than three years after it was struck by lightning.
City council approved the contract for $143,000 for demolition of the turbine in February, and work started on Monday.
The turbine, adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment facility, was one of two installed in Conneaut in late 2009 and early 2010.
It was struck by lightning in February 2017, destroying one of the turbine’s three blades and damaging its internal workings.
In 2017, NexGen Energy Partners, the company that owned and operated the turbine, required a new long-term agreement with the city before they would repair the turbine.
The city of Conneaut filed suit against the turbine operator in 2018. The city took ownership of the turbine, and the case was dismissed.
In 2019, the city published a request for proposals for the demolition or beneficial reuse of the turbine. The city used the results of that request for proposals to budget for the demolition of the turbine.
“We should be able to conduct [the demolition] within a reasonable period of time, if the prevailing weather conditions allow us to do that,” City Manager Jim Hockaday said at the most recent Conneaut Council meeting.
Demolition is expected to be finished on Wednesday, Hockaday said.
Hockaday has spoken to Canadian National to keep them apprised about the project.
There were around a large number of cars parked in the harbor on Monday afternoon, with people watching the demolition.
“It is not every day you get to see a windmill come down,“ said Chris Lampela, one of the spectators.
The project was scheduled to start in March, but the subcontractor hired to do crane work for the demolition halted operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The turbine was also struck by lightning in 2011. It was repaired after the first lightning strike.
NexGen also installed a turbine next to Conneaut Middle School.
That turbine did not work properly. The turbine, larger than the one at the waterfront, is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit filed in March 2011.
In the case, NexGen alleges that the manufacturer of the turbine sold an untested prototype as a tested, reliable model.
The defendant in that lawsuit, Elecon Engineering, claims that the turbine was installed improperly.
A trial in the case started in January, but was halted after less than a week due to disputes over documents.
“[The delay] was really done out of concern for the welfare of the jury,” David Bertsch, an attorney for Elecon, said after the trial was delayed.
Warren Dillaway contributed to this report.
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