St Cloud VA Throws in the Towel on Wind Turbine
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A dysfunctional wind turbine at the Veterans Affairs hospital in St. Cloud will be taken down next year.
The turbine at St. Cloud VA Health Care System hasn't produced any electricity for six years, the St. Cloud Times reported.
Components of the wind turbine have been repaired and replaced in efforts to make it functional, said hospital spokesman Barry Venable. Some of the repairs included replacing the hydraulic systems and the gearbox, which converts wind energy into mechanical energy, producing electricity via a generator.
The decision to remove the turbine comes after the VA commissioned a study in 2016 that suggested installing a new turbine, repairing the existing one or removing it altogether.
"To characterize how we feel here locally, we're disappointed," said Venable. "Lots of time and effort and energy and money went into something the produced nothing of value."
During its functional lifespan, the turbine only produced 3.5 percent of the electricity needs for the campus for one year. A 2009 full feasibility study had projected a wind turbine could provide up to 15 percent of the campus's electricity needs.
Officials also estimated it would save about $90,000 to $100,000 in annual energy costs.
"The projection at the time was the payback over time would be more than the cost of the turbine," Venable said.
Bids for the removal of the wind turbine will be accepted and the project will be awarded next year.