School problems

Schools believe they will save tens of thousands of dollars when they agree to build a turbine(s) on site for their school; however, because turbines historically have very low capacity factors (compared to natural gas, coal and nuclear), this means they may only produce 25-30% of the energy that was initially advertised. Their eventual “payback” to the district could easily exceed 20 years. Additionally, since their operating and maintenance costs are significantly higher than anticipated (see True Cost tab), their repairs can drain schools’ general funds(Read about a potential gear box problem in Ada, below). Could it also be a physical risk and liability to place them on the same property as our children? You bet! Additionally, whatever $ the district ‘receives’ from the turbines is offset by reducing their foundation funding from the government; hence, there is no real advantage to installing a turbine on site! For an update (2016) to the stories below, hover over the schools tab and see 1st link ‘2015 USV, Ada’. Hover over the tab at the top and see other failures…

McGUFFEY — When the wind turbines were installed at the Upper Scioto Valley
schools, it was expected the power generated by the system would save the
district hundreds of thousands of dollars on their electric bills.
To complete the project, build the green lab and make other improvements to
the school facility, the district borrowed $860,000 through House Bill 264,
which allows districts to borrow against future energy savings.
The wind turbines were expected to produce 33,333 kilowatt hours of energy
and the district would save between $900 and $1,500 per month. After more
than a year of operation, both figures are far short of the predictions,
said Steve Canfield, the district’s maintenance director and David
Schoonmaker, electrical engineer with H.T. Burnsforf.
Canfield estimated the cost of a kilowatt is 8.7 cents from AEP and the cost
from the wind-generated power is less than a penny less than that rate. The
cost of solar energy is costing USV 7.9 cents per kilowatt. The savings for
October amounted to $365.90, said Canfield.
The loan was based on saving money, said Schoonmaker.
“I don’t believe we are on that path,” he told the finance committee Monday
evening. “The wind is not producing to date the amount of power NexGen
(Energy) said it would.” said Schoonmaker.
The state board had questioned NexGen’s estimates when the loan was
approved, said Schoonmaker, but the company “fiercely” defended their
There were 8,000 kilowatt hours of electric produced in July and only 5,000
in August. To average 33,000, there should be months of 50,000 kilowatt
production to offset those low months, said Schoonmaker, but that is not
happening. In October, the turbines produced 29,000 kilowatts, which is
closer to the projection, but still short noted the engineer.
“We are just not going to get that kind of production,” said Schoonmaker.
“Why is a question for NexGen.”
The second part of the problem, Schoonmaker told the committee, is AEP
didn’t raise the rates as was expected. The loan is based on the power
company hiking its cost 15 percent a year over the next three years, he
said. That is not happening. The special school rate is not in effect, but
the results have been minimal in the electric bill.
“There have been no dramatic spikes,” said Schoonmaker. “They have kept the
costs competitive with what we are paying for wind. We took two hits in the
same direction. We are paying more for what we get from the turbines than
from AEP.”
The money saved for the loan payment of $87,000 per year is not there, said
Treasurer Kristine Blind. She suggested one annual payment could be made by
placing unused money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission in a
permanent improvement fund. But that is the solution for only one year, she
said. Source 11/24/2010 Dan Robinson with the Kenton Times

Ada to investigate noise from wind turbine May 8, 2014
ADA — Michael Harnishfeger, Ada’s chief of police and zoning inspector, will be looking into whether or not the wind turbine on the Ada School property violates the village’s noise ordinance for turbines.
According to Councilman Bob Simmons, there have been complaints recently over the noise of the turbine from those who live near it. Simmons and Jamie Hall, assistant village administrator, visited a complainant’s yard to hear for themselves.
“The one out there the day I was out there was very loud,” Simmons said.
He said the noise was that of a loose bearing, or a grinding noise.
Councilman Jimmy Wilson, who lives near the turbine as well, said he too could attest to the loudness of the turbine from time to time.
“I live in the 200 block of Turner and from experiences and those of my neighbors, when the wind is from a certain direction at a certain speed, it’s pretty bad; you can almost feel the vibrations,” Wilson said.
Councilman Don Fleming addressed the issue of the turbine possibly being in violation of an ordinance, which states that the turbines are not to be over 40 decibels.
“If we have ordinances that deal with this, we need to know that and we need to abide by those ordinances,” Fleming said. “If there’s something we can do or are obligated to do, then we need to do it and not just ignore these people like it’s going to stop. If it’s actually bearings, it’s only going to get worse.”
“At what point do we say, OK, we need to see if this falls within our ordinance’? Where’s the tipping point here?” questioned Councilwoman Cathy Cole.
Harnishfeger informed council that he will look into obtaining a decimeter to measure the noise level of the turbine. The measurement is to be taken at the nearest property line, according to Village Administrator Jim Meyer.
The question of responsibility also was raised by Councilman Jeff Oestreich who asked if it was council’s responsibility to “nudge” the school to contact the vendor of the turbine to have it looked at.
“It’s in our zoning code, so the zoning inspector would contact the school as the owner of the property,” said village legal counsel Jane Napier….

By TY THAXTON Times staff writer