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Wind Turbine Economics and Failures

Wind Turbine Failures - Out of Warranty Wind Turbines

This year $40 billion dollars worth of commercial wind turbines will come out of their warranty period. The out-of-warranty turbines around the 1.5 Megawatt range need, gearbox repairs, transmission upgrades and blade repairs during the period of 2011 to 2020.

The Town of Portsmouth paid $3 million dollars for a 1.5 Megawatt commercial wind turbine. One way or another the turbine is owned by the residents of Portsmouth.

Turbines are designed to last for 20 years but O&M strategies were not.
Operations and maintenance issues are commonly left out of the sales pitch when purchasing a commercial wind turbine. The town turbine is 3-years-old.

The maintenance plan on the Portsmouth High School wind turbine runs around $33,000 per year. A major breakdown after the warranty could cost plenty. A turbine similar to this in Princeton, MA, costs $600,000 to replace a gearbox.

Let's say that next week an announcement is made that the turbine needs major repairs to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and additional crane expenses to take down and repair the turbine plus the down time loss of income. The crane is a special crane that comes on several 53 foot truck trailers .

The turbine is only 3-years-old. Knowing in another three years your facing another major repair of the same type and the unknown of blade repairs or transmission upgrades. What do you do?

How can the town justify the operation and maintenance costs of the turbine for the next year? When does the turbine become a clunker getting hit with hundreds of  thousand dollars in repair costs every year?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bill Carson October 05, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Portsmouth is spending too much money ! The town is in the process of renting town owned land to private contractors to build another commercial wind turbine ! This is about just spending way too much of the taxpayers money ! Here's an interesting URL I came across about spending too much money in town governments : http://www.capecog.com/capecog/2011/08/whos-the-biggest-megalomaniac-on-a-per-capita-basis-john-klimm-or-barak-obama-answer-indisputably-john-klimm-in.html
Bill Carson October 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
What "mistakes" were made by the Town of Portsmouth when they bought the wind turbine ? Was it the lack of any warranty ? Was it the failure to look into the finances of the company ? Was it a poor feasibility study ? How long had the start up company been in business ? Should the town required bonding for the turbine ? How about the lawsuit over the base of the turbine that put the turbine company out of business ? The three million was millions less than any other company ! Why didn't anyone ask why ? In 2007 the turbine company had lost a major contract to provide a large amount of turbines to the Canadian government ? Why didn't anyone review the financial statements of the company ?
John ("Anything But Sue") October 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I have re-posted my post here from another blog authored by BILL Bill Carson is intent in keeping his various blogs At The TOP. I'm here to help. SO: BILL: What happened at last nights Portsmouth Town Meeting...?? Where is the Wind Turbine REPORT you said would be presented in many of your previous posts......??? Just wondering
William F Horan October 11, 2012 at 04:48 PM
John - The Newport Daily News has already answered your question in the announcement of a scheduled 3 hour meeting prior to the election where information will be presented as to the choices available and the companion data that provides the tax payers and rate payers (state wide) the bases to realize an informed decision. I havce appreciated the information from Bill Carson vantage point as one of many that must be very carefully considered and factored into the ultimate conclusion to this unfortunate situation. Yes, today looking more like a classic text book group think. Yes, everyone owns the mistake of yesterday and now the challenge for today is to be capable of learning from that error so that tomorrow we will not repeated an exercise in an over dimensioned set of conditions with an undesirable outcome. .We must recognize the contributions made by well intended individuals and the community as a whole. Specifically the energy market and the viable solutions and disruptive technologies will continue to challenge us for generations. In our quest we must not subscribe to a pseudo political cult of true believers based on counterfeit agendas. The journey must and will continue with all a little wiser from the experience. Today our defective national energy policy and companion RI GA state missteps must be reformed as a first order of business. The robber barons and their costly kluge solutions must be dismissed.
Bill Carson October 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Wind Turbine "Fuzzy Math" ! The turbine cost over three million dollars plus a maintenance contract and someone in town to push the restart button every 6 to 8 hours which equates to hundreds of hours of make-up vacation time ! Since it went into operational in March 2009, the turbine had netted $400,000 in profits for the town . This is correct but the turbine cost 3 million 3,000,000.00. The breakdown three years later is going to cost around $500,000.00 to repair the turbine. So you have a net loss of $200,000.00 after three years and still owe 2 million on a bond ? There are people on the PEDC that still think this is a great deal ? If they think it is a great deal why are they resigning their positions ? Why don't they stay and prove how great the turbine project mistake really was . October 23 ,2012 Special Town Council Meeting for the third option ! Take it down !

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