The cost of repairs for a wind turbine at Kiowa County High School have gotten so high, the district has decided to dismantle the unit.
It's time to cut losses and move ahead at Kiowa County High School. That was the decision that signaled the end of a wind turbine generator at the school.
District Superintendent Staci Derstein said they were in the process of getting the tower and turbine decommissioned and taken down. The take down has to wait until the wind dies down so it could happen this week or some time next week, depending on the wind speed. A crane is used to take the tower down.
It was costing the district money to keep the turbine, that was installed at the school in 2010, in repairs and running so the decision was made to take the turbine and tower down.
"The repairs were very costly," Derstein said.
A wind turbine, made by the same company that made the school wind generator, collapsed at the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital. The maintenance company the school uses determined the school wind turbine had the same problem as the hospital tower and it would be very hard to fix, Derstein said.
While the turbine was running, the district was seeing a seven to eight percent decrease in electric bills for the main building.
But, when the turbine broke down, it was very hard to get parts because the company that made the wind generation system, Endurance Turbine, was based in Canada plus it was hard to get people to come to Greensburg to make repairs. Since no parts were being manufactured, the district had to look for replacement parts that would work and that was a challenge.
There was no one locally that could maintain the system. The closest service technicians available were from Colorado and the district had to wait for service when it fit into their schedule.
The turbine suffered two lightning strikes and the turbine was down from five to six months for each lightning strike. Over the past few years it hasn't run much.
"It hasn't been producing electricity in the last year and a half," Derstein said. "We weren't seeing any savings on electricity when we looked at expenses for the wind turbine."
There are no plans to replace the wind generator at this time. For one thing, funding is not available at this time to put up a new system.
But Derstein said she liked having a working wind generator because it did reduce the district electric bills.
"I think its a great concept. I wish it was simpler than it was," Derstein said.
When it was working, the wind generator would produce 50 kilowatts of electricity. It wasn't an easy decision to get rid of the generator but it was costing the school more money in repairs than it was saving on the electric bill.
"It wasn't an easy decision but we have to be fiscally responsible," Derstein said.