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Charlestown turbine starts up in October, shuts down in January

February 26, 2012

Photo credit: MWRACould problems plague Fairhaven, which is preparing to erect two turbines of the same type of as this one in Charlestown? It has sunk 2 inches since it began operation in October. In his Boston Herald article, John Zaremba describes the project to shore up the 364-foot, 231-ton turbine at the DeLauri Sewer Pump Station:

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority honchos and engineers met yesterday to figure out a fix for the $4.7 million wind turbine, which started turning in October, only to power down last month when crews discovered it had settled about 2 inches, agency officials said. Possible causes, they said, include soil conditions and vibrations from a sudden shutdown triggered by high winds.

People in Fairhaven already have numerous objections to the turbines planned there–too close to residences, schools, and a recreation area with a bike path. Now they wonder if the two 1.5 MW Sinovel turbines will be offline as much as they are on, given the same developers, contractors and engineers as the project in Charlestown.

Reporters for the renewable energy publication Recharge said in November that the Charlestown project puts Sinovel on the map, but FairAction Fairhaven notes that Sinovel is being charged with intellectual property theft in relation to the 1.5 MW turbine technology.

But not to worry, the financing is all there. Recharge reported that the the Fairhaven developers are receiving “$1.3m in federally subsidised financing, in addition to federal tax credits.”

Read more about why Charlestown needed a Chinese-made turbine…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2012 11:57 am


    Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

    April 6, 2012
    CONTACT: Ria Convery
    (617) 788-1105,

    Charlestown Wind Turbine Progress Update

    Update April 6, 2012 – The work to reinforce the foundation has begun and the contractor, Lumus Construction, has mobilized on the site. In the next week or two, New England Foundation Co. will begin to install a concrete ring and new piles around the existing foundation. Once the heavy equipment arrives on site,  the turbine will not be running. This  work is expected take about 10 weeks to complete.

    Update March 9, 2012 — The engineers are putting the finishing touches on the plan to correct the foundation issue. In the meantime, the turbine should begin operating again at low wind speeds sometime next week.

    We have received a number of inquiries from people who have noticed that the Charlestown wind turbine has not been operating.    
    During scheduled maintenance, it was determined that the foundation had settled. While some settling and re-torquing of the bolts that tie the foundation to the anchors had been expected with what is called a “floating foundation,” the settling exceeded what was anticipated.  

    It is important to note that this type of floating foundation is very common for wind turbines around the world.

    Over the last few weeks, the contractor, Lumus, three engineering firms, and MWRA engineers have assessed the situation. First, and most importantly, all of the engineers agree that the turbine structure remains safe and has been constructed with a safety factor that is twice what is required. While the structure has settled, it remains level and plumb and all components remain operationally ready.
    The engineers have determined that it is prudent to stiffen or reinforce the foundation before the turbine is restarted. The contractor has submitted options for this work, which are under review. This work falls under the warranty.

    Updates will follow as work progresses.   

    History :

  2. sheri permalink
    March 17, 2012 2:55 am

    Charlestown turbine starts up in October, shuts down in January….here is another headline to chew on:
    Independence Turbine in Kingston has not been commissioned BUT requires technicians from South Korea to travel to repair the turbine blades. a patching of blades prior to operation, how can this be?…blades that have yet to spin…blades that, if they malfunction, are within the minimum safety setback for those that live and travel in and around Kingston…
    Who is responsible for public safety? Why is this turbine requiring repair? Did the team from South Korea really have to go to Job Lot for duct tape?

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