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Princeton’s turbines disappoint

September 16, 2012

Worcester Telegram and Gazette Correspondent Sandy Meindersma reportsPrinceton wind turbines losing money” (9/15/12), but adds that the Municipal Light Department still made a profit in 2011. From August 2011 to July 2012, one of the turbines was inoperable, awaiting a replacement gear box.

Brian Allen, who has been general manager of the Princeton Municipal Light Department since October of last year, reported in a letter to ratepayers that an analysis of the light department’s financials reveals that the two turbines, which were installed in 2009, have lost ratepayers $1.875 million since they went online.

This is the second time a “Dear Ratepayer” message has spelled out the problems the municipal utility is facing:

The financial losses associated with the turbines are caused by a variety of factors, including a mechanical breakdown of one turbine, greater than projected expenses and lower than expected electricity production.

The turbines were expected to produce 9,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year. Actual production has been closer to 6,500 megawatt hours.

The letter in February 2012 reports the town expected a payback based on $90 per megawatt hour, but the actual market rate was half that.

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