Falmouth Wind 1 Turbine Past-Present-...

Falmouth Wind 1 Turbine Past-Present-Future

Posted in the West Tisbury Forum

Jack Kelly

Jamestown, RI

#1 Sep 21, 2013
Falmouth Wind-1: Past-Present-Future
Posted by Bill Carson, September 17, 2013 at 07:40 PM

The Falmouth Wind 1 commercial 1.65 megawatt turbine was built in 2004 for the MTC, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The semi quasi state agency is today called the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

The MTC held the Falmouth Wind-1 turbine in a warehouse in Texas at $3500.00 a month from 2005 until it was installed in Falmouth between 2009 -2010. The turbine had been offered at auction in which there were no bidders.

The MTC made arrangements and gave the Town of Falmouth an advance of one million in renewable energy credits to take the turbine off its hands.

The length of time the MTC had held the turbine and the monthly fees were an embarrassment to the state agency.

The manufacturer of Falmouth Wind-1 had taken over a company in 2004 that had major issues over gear box failures in its 1.65 megawatt turbines. The current turbine has a 3 -stage planetary/helical gearbox. Today wind turbine companies no longer build turbines with a gear box as they are prone to failure in only a few short years. Today large megawatt turbines are built with direct drive transmissions.

Turbines are designed to last for 20 years but O&M, Operation & Maintenance strategies were not and have been left out of the picture and the general public has never been told about gear box failures every 3 to 5 years.

Gear box repair today requires a crane that takes two weeks to put together and includes blade repairs that start around $600,000.00. The Wind 1 turbine warranty starts around $50,000.00 per year and does not include everything that the original warranty covered.

Otis Air Base has a 2009 wind turbine with gear box problems. The Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Princeton ,Massachusetts have had catastrophic gear box failures.

Massachusetts has a renewable energy goal of 2000 megawatts of renewable energy by the year 2020. The state does not want any negative press because of their renewable energy mandate. The news media has been low key on reporting gear box failures as investigative news reporting is too expensive and the mechanics of commercial wind is difficult to understand.

What is the future of commercial wind for all the turbines installed with gear boxes ? Not good. Repairing gear boxes and blades has in only a few years become a secondary cottage industry repairing the turbines at almost the original costs of the turbines every three to five year and then again in another three to five years.

Towns are going to be facing massive high maintenance policies and loss of production through break downs.

The bottom line is the commercial megawatt turbines installed in the past ten years are not economically feasible and the sooner the general public understands these facts the better.

The politicians understand the problems why not just level with Jill and Joe Public ?


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