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From Texas To Alaska — Another Wind Turbine Fiasco that Will Cost Millions

Wind turbine nightmare at remote Alaska refuge may cost millions

Craig Medred — Alaska Dispatch — April 7, 2014

The bird-friendly wind turbines that were to power the offices of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in far Western Alaska are in a pile on the ground on the Alaska Peninsula. And more than 600 miles to the northeast in Anchorage, engineer John Lyons, project manager for a renewable energy project turned nightmare, wishes he’d never heard of a Texas company called Tangarie Alternative Power.

“Tan-gary,” as Lyons pronounces it, was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pick to supply the wind generators for an Izmbek power project green-flagged by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, President Barack Obama’s attempt to jump-start a faltering national economy.

At a cost of $3.4 million, Alaska Business Monthly reported four years ago, “The (Izembek) project represents the largest ARRA investment in Alaska.”

Company filed for bankruptcy

Alternative energy was a big component of the president’s stimulus package. It has come under fire from conservative critics, who point to fraud and failure as the government scrambled to make federal money available.

“Solyndra, the solar panel company whose highly publicized failure and consequent investigation by federal authorities has generated headlines, isn’t the only business to go belly up after benefiting from a piece of the $800 billion economic stimulus package passed in 2009,” Fox News reported in the fall of 2011. “At least four other companies have received stimulus funding only to later file for bankruptcy, and two of those were working on alternative energy.”

Tangarie appears destined to join those companies. It has filed for bankruptcy as the Fish and Wildlife Service and others that bought its turbines scramble to find alternative energy systems that work. And in Alaska, at least, Tangarie’s spiraling, upright, vertical-axis helical turbines have never really worked.

The longest any ever ran was “120 consecutive days,” said Larry Bell, assistant regional director for Alaska Region of Fish and Wildlife. That was back when parts and technical advice were still available from the company now out of business.

Company gates padlocked

The factory gates in Vernon, Texas, were padlocked in March. Folks in the southern state are not happy, according to a report in the Times Record News of Wichita Falls, Texas.

The Times Record report indicates Tangarie owners John and Dede Besold appear to have received more than $1.5 million in support from state and local business-development groups to get into the turbine business. The company produced about 50 wind turbines before it folded.

Lyons, an employee of Marsh Creek LLC in Anchorage, does not mince words on his feelings bout the Besolds. “They should be in jail, really,” he said.

Tangarie’s unique and problem-plagued wind turbines, which aren’t much bigger in width than the poles atop which they spin, were taken down by Marsh Creek and placed on the ground for fear parts might fly off and cause damage in the community of Cold Bay.  Continue reading here….

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  1. From Texas To Alaska — Another Wind Turbine Fiasco that Will Cost Millions | ajmarciniak - April 13, 2014

    […] From Texas To Alaska — Another Wind Turbine Fiasco that Will Cost Millions. […]

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