Workers Struggle to Find 'Specialized' Part for Broken Wind Turbine

The town's wind turbine generator has been motionless for more than a week.

Assistant Town Planner Gary Crosby says a hard-to-find "specialized part" for the Portsmouth Wind Turbine Generator has its blades for more than a week. 

The town's wind turbine, located at , has remained motionless since May 10 after an error code alerted town workers to a problem on site. A "pressure sensor" is to blame for the error code, Crosby says. 

"The short story is Lumus believes the fault is in a pressure sensor and they are having difficulty locating a replacement part," Crosby wrote in an e-mail to the Portsmouth Town Council Monday. 

This "highly specialized part" is hard to located, according to the assistant town planner, who has worked as the unofficial, iterim town planner since  in December. 

However, at first, technicians were unaware the problem was with a sensor. 

"When the error message first appeared a week ago Thursday, Lumus did what they usually do by downloading and transmitting data recorded a few minutes before and after the moment of the fault to Windtec in Austria for their analysis and recommended repair protocols," Crosby writes. 

"Windtec examined the data and suggested the error was in a switch in circuitry having to do with measuring oil pressure in the gearbox. Lumus set about trying to locate a replacement switch and sent their technicians down to work [on] the problem. As it turns out, there was no 'switch' in the circuitry for Lumus to find."

The previous company, AAER, installed an instrumentation package unbeknownst to Windtec. "So Lumus/Windtec was hunting around for something that did not exist," Crosby writes. "...Lumus was able to locate the pressure sensor itself and determine that it was faulty."

Lumus' employees contacted two distributors in New England, both of which did not have this special part. Lumus also contacted Hydac distributors in Germany, Canada and Illinois. 

"The good news – the Hydac distributor in Illinois has 40 of ‘em. The bad news – they are all spoken for," said the assistant town planner. 

However, the Illinois distributor is working to "see if he/she can contact one of the entities who has the 40 sensors locked up, to spring one of them loose for us," Crosby said. 

The part is expected to cost between $100 and $200, according to Crosby.

"Rest assured, Lumus, Windtec and I are doing everything in our power to speed this process along," he said. 

"It is small consolation I know, but the next time we are expected to have any winds above 8 mph for any appreciable length of time is Thursday afternoon at the earliest. If we have to miss out on production time, at least we are missing out during a period of low winds.

"I know there is a great deal of rhetoric flying about regarding the wind turbine these days. As many of you know, I am more that forthcoming about the turbine when asked (to a fault, some might say). Please, please, please, if you have any questions at all about the turbine pick up the phone and call me. I am more than happy to talk to anyone about it and always ready to explain the details. Just ask."

The phone number for the Town Planning Department is (401) 643-0332. 

Island Porkrunner May 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I walked down Sprague street yesterday and my was it alive! Great sight
John ("Anything But Sue") May 30, 2012 at 11:49 PM
TODAY..Wednesday afternoon,, NO Action At ANY of the Wind Turbines in Portsmouth. This is Totally Unacceptable. OH WAIT>>>There was NO WIND. Just Sayin....
Bill Carson July 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Portsmouth turbine Associated Press- Investigation should follow http://www.necn.com/07/13/12/Portsmouth-facing-500000-bill-to-fix-tur/landing_newengland.html?&apID=a1dad6f1e2e14597ab22b2c4d0e45e09
Home Ports July 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Hope that when the report is given at the council meeting about repair costs a simple P & L (profit and loss) statement can be produced as well. This would state what the total expenditures have been compared to the revenue generated. We would then be in a position to know where we stand, then we would be able to make an informed decision as to where we go.
Bill Carson July 13, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Need State and Federal probe of wind turbine now !The Town of Portsmouth is in the middle of one of the biggest dog and pony shows going on in the United States today. The Portsmouth Town Council said they were only going to look forward and do their "Due Diligence"! This show has been going on since 2004. How much money has been spent in wind studies, contractors, advisors, bonds etc. It was pretty clear the Town Council has already decided on the company Jahnel-Kestermann Getriebewerke GmbH or what the Portsmouth Town Council calls "Jake" www.jake-gear.com . Not one of the council members asked what "Jake " actually meant. The only thing bigger than this is the Studio 38 story


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