Report: Errors made during assembly of Portsmouth turbine

An inspector atop the turbine's nacelle on May 8. An inspector atop the turbine's nacelle on May 8.

An inspector atop the turbine's nacelle on May 8.

An inspector atop the turbine’s nacelle on May 8.

PORTSMOUTH — Parts of the town’s wind turbine were assembled incorrectly, which may have been a contributing factor toward the eventual breakdown of the machine’s gear box, according to a recent inspection report submitted to the town.

The findings come from a May 12 report submitted by the Seattle, Wash. company DA Roberts, LLC (DAR) to Town Planner Gary Crosby. DAR was commissioned to represent the town during a “condition and blade inspection” on the town’s broken wind turbine on May 8.

“During the inspection, several turbine assembly errors became evident, such as improper rotor installation, possible blade pitch calibration, and one ladder splice section that was installed upside down,” states the DAR report. “These items provide additional evidence that improper installation and calibration may be contributing factors in the gearbox failure root cause analysis.”

However, the report also states that “on a positive note, most can be corrected (except for the ladder), which may extend the life of the replacement gearbox.”

DAR’s report was made part of the backup material for the Town Council’s public hearing on the turbine scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at Town Hall. At that meeting, the council is expected to decide whether to have the turbine repaired or taken down.

Voters approved a $3 million bond issue in 2007 for the turbine, located at the high school, but it hasn’t spun its blade since June 2012 due to the broken gear box.

According to the DAR report, the blade inspection is not complete due to the rotor installation error. DAR recommended that the blades are re-inspected when the “rotor is on the ground for gearbox replacement.”

Read the full report here.

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7 Comments

  1. William F Horan said:

    The Portsmouth Industrial Wind Turbine Generator has additional issues beyond the now well documented gear box reliability. We recall conversations concerning the fact that the IWTG design & implementation does not reflect a standard Industry certified type accepted design. For example one of many issues along the path of discussion was that on board automated management control system having several functions (sensors hardware, firmware & software) not integrated & activated as compared to that vendors and or other IWT Generators of that same design generation. Over the advertised 20 year operational life can one even characterize what costly operational & life cycle maintenance requiring a predictable supply chain issues will materialize in this one of design? Further more a high likelihood of shorting the IWTG useful life. Again resulting in an open ended venture lacking a quantifiable – predictable economic outcome. Yes, still an open ended finical exposure.

  2. William F Horan said:

    Behind the closed door – is both the state & town tax payers & public utility rate payers being prep ed for a further “donation by force of government”? Yes, in another attempt to bail out the failed Portsmouth Wind Turbine? If yes then the mining of fools gold continues that surely will result in an open ended additional cost obligation.. Yes, today the cost of termination is quantified tomorrow entering into open ended activities in an attempt to attain operational status exposes unquantified finical & technical risk e.g. once again an open ended who knows?

    • Paul Shaw said:

      The State of Rhode Island has a renewable energy goal of sixteen percent by the year 2019. This is a political agenda orchestrated on the backs of taxpayers

      The state is using taxpayer funds to spend millions to build these wind turbines and then millions to fix them three years later.

      What do taxpayers expect to happen in another three years ? Another gear box and new blades ?

      Is this about the Jill & Joe taxpayers or helping the wind industry and pouring political contributions into the state representatives and senators pockets at the back door of Smith Hill ?

  3. Paul Shaw said:

    Folks , Beware what they are NOT telling you ! This is exactly what happened the last time. They were unable to do a full inspection of the blades ! It’s in the report ! If they decide to rebuild the gear box its almost certain because of the bad rotor that the blades will need replacement. Three blades are one million dollars.
    Also they are leaving out the facts of all the other AAER wind turbines manufactured that have been taken down —

    They say in the report due to the poor installation of the turbine they were not able to do a full blade inspection ?

    What if the blades are NO good ? They are painting a rosy picture for a half hour hearing. Where is the “Due Diligence ? ”

    Here’s the report !
    What is the cost of replacing blades ?
    http://www.portsmouthri.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/325?fileID=1322

  4. Ben Elwell said:

    Question- The company that installed the turbine- although they are out of business, there was obviously a performance bond for the project, and the company clearly under preformed. Is there no recourse though the bond company?

    • Paul Shaw said:

      The Portsmouth wind turbine had an oil sensor that detected unusual wear of bearings in the wind turbine. The oil sensor counts the microns of metallic particles in the oil. We as humans see the oil change from clear oil to black. The black to us is bad. If the oil sensor sees too many microns of oil the computer shuts down the turbine.

      The oil sensor switch in the Portsmouth wind turbine was automatically shutting down the wind turbine almost on a daily basis because it saw too many particles of oil. The computer gave a read out of 666 on the port number which meant nothing to the people in control of the wind turbine.

      The person who was in charge of the wind turbine was pushing the restart button at one point every eight hours.

      The SCADA system (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) gave the town employee access to restart the turbine at his beck and call .There are documents to show how many times the restart button was pushed .

      How now do you file legal action against the former wind turbine company or the company that took over AAER or the company that gave AAER the license to build the wind turbine . That company is Furhlander of Germany.

      My bet is that the town attorney and others in Portsmouth are aware of how many times the reset button was pushed and were afraid to go after anyone because of the amount of times the turbine was restarted in the last 6 months of operation.

      It may be a good idea to ask the Portsmouth Town Council and/or the expert they hired exactly how many times was the reset button pushed in the last 6 months prior to the gear box failure.

      It may be that the town was more interested in production and lost down time than just doing routine maintenance and repairs .

      It’s my opinion that this is why cities, towns and municipal employees shouldn’t be operating commercial wind turbines. It’s not their money and they don’t care …

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