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More Lies My Wind Industry Rep Told Me — St. Cloud, Virginia: Wind turbine a “towering boondoggle”

Mark Sommerhauser — St. Cloud Times — March 1, 2014

Almost three years after it was built, a wind turbine at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System has become a towering boondoggle.

The VA system has paid about 99 percent of the $2.3 million cost for the trouble-prone turbine.

All that has bought so far is a turbine that supplied a tiny fraction of the power it was expected to generate for the St. Cloud VA campus. And since August 2012, the turbine has supplied no power at all.

Even if the turbine starts working tomorrow, a Times analysis finds the VA system already has lost more than $325,000 in energy cost savings it would have realized had the turbine worked as projected since it went online in April 2011.

The VA system has not been compensated for those lost savings, a spokesman said.

Interviews with and documents supplied by VA officials haven’t made it clear if such compensation will materialize — or when, if ever, the turbine will work properly.

Independent wind energy experts who spoke to the Times said financial guarantees of energy savings for turbine buyers are common in the industry. They also said the turbine’s manufacturer, India-based Elecon Turbowinds, isn’t well established in the U.S.

The 164-foot-tall, 600-kilowatt turbine, the construction of which was funded by the federal stimulus act, remains in the commissioning phase as crews conduct one repair after another to its electrical and hydraulic systems.

As the process drags on, St. Cloud VA officials are voicing their frustration with increasing candour..… keep reading here…..


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