Bayonne is still negotiating with the manufacturer of the city’s sole wind turbine to get it spinning again.
The $5.6 million turbine was installed at the Oak Street pumping station in 2012. Towering nearly 400 feet tall from base to blade tip, the 252 foot diameter blades of the over 70-ton turbine can produce approximately 3.3 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, which can power up to 600 homes and can translate to up to hundreds of thousands in energy savings each year.
The turbine was manufactured by the North American subsidiary of French company Poma S.A. and Italian company Leitner AG. That company, known as Leitner-Poma of America and headquartered in Colorado, typically makes ski lifts.
While the turbine was groundbreaking at the time, being the first in the metro area, it has since been plagued with a number of operational issues. The turbine has been out of operation since 2020, due to a “bad generator.” And the “windmill,” as it is known colloquially, is no where near close to being repaired.
The delay in fixing it revolves around who is on the hook for the repairs, according to Law Director Jay Coffey. The topic was the talk of the city at the Bayonne City Council meeting in September of 2021 following a Bayonne Community News interview with now-former Municipal Services Director Tim Boyle about the turbine. While things have been quiet since, residents again asked about the turbine at the March meeting.
According to Coffey, the city is negotiating with the American branch of the manufacturer to settle the issue. The cost to repair the turbine will be estimated after the negotiations conclude who is responsible for the repairs.
“Our argument is the entity that put the windmill in, did not properly install it,” Coffey said at the March 16 meeting. “It was broken more than it was operational.”
According to Coffey, while the negotiations are taking long, taking the battle to court would spell an even longer wait.
“That’s something that if we go to court, our kids will be there to see the end of that,” Coffey said. “We’re hoping to work something out, and negotiate a settlement so we can get the thing moving again.”
Later, in an interview with the Bayonne Community News, Coffey further described the issue.
“There’s an argument over whose responsibility it is to repair the wind turbine,” Coffey said.
The lengthy negotiations regarding who is liable to facilitate the repairs to get the wind turbine operational again are ongoing, with no end in sight.
“I can’t tell you when we’re going to be finished,” Coffey said. “It’s been negotiated for a long time. I’d love to wrap it up tomorrow, but you have two sides who fundamentally disagree.”
In the meanwhile, the turbine remains “gone with the wind.”
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