Town Council Fails Transparency Over ...

Town Council Fails Transparency Over Wind Turbine Fiasco

Posted in the Portsmouth Forum

Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#1 Jul 27, 2012
Prior to any public announcement about the financial fiasco and gearbox failure of the wind turbine failure politicians knew weeks if not months in advance of the turbine failure. The public was told about the failure at the last possible minute . What happened to government transparency?

The issue that NO one wants to talk about is the cost of a special crane that's needed to bring down the 50 ton wind turbine narcel. The crane brought in over a week on 53 foot flatbed trucks costs tens of thousands of dollars. Once the narcel is on the ground an inspection of the entire turbine will take place.

It almost certain there is more damage .If you recall through local newspaper stories the turbine had been restarted up to every 6 hours for almost two years ! If there was a problem with the shaft alignment two years ago it didn't get any better and new multimillion dollar turbine would probably fit the bill.

The town officials had already refereed to a company called Jahnel-Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH .

The slang name for this company is Jake.

The warranty on the gearbox is the same as the original turbine purchased by the Town of Portsmouth.

The project is a failure and the chance of another gear box failure is ten to one according to the wind turbine contractors. The gear box failures are so bad they offer to sell them two at a time.

The newer turbines have direct drives rather than a gear box but the new turbines have permenant magnets and weigh a lot more . Wind turbine salespeople will tell you the direct drive turbines are better but what happens when the permenant magnets fail ? More money ?
Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#2 Jul 27, 2012

Portsmouth Wind energy workshop
Tue, 02/20/2007 - 10:58pm — jmcdaid
Tonight, about a dozen Portsmouth residents attended a 2-hour Town Council workshop (with Sylvia Wedge of the School Committee) to hear a presentation on a potential wind turbine by the Economic Development Committee's renewable energy subcommittee.

The evening kicked off with a context-setting presentation by Andrew C. Dzykewicz, the chief energy advisor to Governor Carcieri, a new position created just a year ago. In support of the Governor's ambitious goal of getting 20% of the state's energy from renewable sources, Dzykewicz sketched the reality facing RI: "Stop using plasma TVs, build something, or the lights go off. Those are the three options."

Fortunately, Dzykewicz said, RI has a beneficial wind regime, mainly offshore. And with the price of electricity primarily driven by the price of natural gas (with prices in the $.10-.12/kWh range) wind turbines, with their cost of about $.07-.11 kWh, are competitive here. Also possible would be tidal turbines, essentially windmills underwater, like those used in NYC's East River. Finally, there are Energy Services Companies (ESCO) which contract to do energy audits of municipal (or school) buildings, install efficient lighting, HVAC, etc., on a lease arrangement which usually works out to less than the dollar cost of current energy buys.("Bob [Driscoll]," said Councilor Seveney, "We got an action item here.")

Then the sustainable energy subcommittee talked about the specific proposal they're working on for the Council, a wind turbine sited at the Middle or High School. This is the project for which they received approval for a 1.6m zero-interest bond, and they presented preliminary data that demonstrated a positive cash flow.

Using a year's worth of [1-hr samples] wind data provided by Raytheon, and a year's worth of [30-min] electrical use for the school, the committee demonstrated that a 600 kWh turbine (same size as the Abbey) would show a positive cash flow of about $30k/year, and would pay off the bond in about 12 years, leaving about 8 years of "free" energy on its expected lifespan of 20 years.

There were a few questions from citizens about the noise, and the potential impact on property values. Councilor Seveney reassured everyone that this was only an initial presentation, just the first gate to establish feasibility, and that many opportunities for public input would precede any decision. The subcommittee promised a formal, detailed proposal with precise cost numbers for meetings in the June timeframe.

While I understand the quality of life issues, I can't resist pointing out the lack of a true apples-to-apples comparison. What is always left out of these discussions is the invisible costs of coal-fired plants upwind, dumping particulates, soot, and mercury on our fields, our watershed, and our children. We need to remember the question, "compared to what" when we evaluate wind power.
Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#3 Jul 27, 2012
Who was Andrew Dzykewicz the former Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.
Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#4 Jul 27, 2012
Andrew Dzykewicz


Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources Andrew Dzykewicz serves as the Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. Mr. Dzykewicz brings a set of experiences comprised of technical, economic, policy matters. This set of experiences enables a holistic view of energy infrastructure and market issues.

Mr. Dzykewicz has spent almost forty years in the energy business in government and private industry. He was appointed to the position of Chief Advisor to the Governor on Energy by Governor Carcieri in January of 2006. Later in that year, he was appointed to be the first Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. Just prior to his appointment, Mr. Dzykewicz worked at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation where he facilitated an agreement on underground high voltage transmission line in Providence, represented the RIEDC at PUC negotiated rulemaking regarding renewable portfolio standard, negotiated a reduction in electric rate for U.S. Navy Newport, advised the Governor’s office on various energy related matters, and testified on energy bills before the Rhode Island legislature.

Prior to his employment at the RIEDC, he was President, Energy Solutions Rhode Island, a company that provided consulting services in energy economics and technical issues, including technical and financial feasibility studies for merchant power plants in the restructured environment, plant site location services and energy project proposal services.

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