Berlin Wind Turbine Back On Track

BERLIN — A few technical setbacks have delayed the construction of Berlin’s first wind turbine but all bugs have been eliminated and blades should be spinning this November.
The snag came this summer while testing materials that would be used in the turbine, according to Doug Richard, owner of DDU Magnetics. However, there was a silver lining as a probe into the malfunctions led to new discoveries.
“We were developing the wind turbine by doing reliability testing in Chicago and we had some failures of some of the components, and we’ve worked those issues out and the result of our research resulted in another US patent,” he told the Town Council Monday.
All “technical setbacks” have since been resolved, added Richard. Luckily, they were caught pretty early which is why component testing is done before any construction begins, he said, since it can be much more difficult to address problems once the 50kw turbine is built.
“It’s a lot easier to test those components before you put it up in the sky. We did not want to have a failure after we’d installed it,” Richard said. “But the testing did result in a new discovery.”
Final tests should wrap up in short order, he continued, at which point installation and construction can begin.
“So sometime this fall we should have an operable wind turbine at the Berlin property?” Mayor Gee Williams asked.
Richard confirmed that by November the turbine should be fully operational and supplying electricity to the town. And while it’s unfortunate that there was a delay due to component failure, the results of the tests have produced a better turbine, he said.
“What we discovered was that we could remove some of the moving parts, some of the rotating parts and replace those with diodes and we’ve reduced the points of failure by more than half,” Richard said. “We reduced the components that were causing the points of failure by more than half. It is much more reliable now.”
The council was happy to have a timeline on the turbine.
“I’m just glad this is moving forward … it’s progress,” said Councilwoman Lisa Hall. “We’re almost there.”
Williams asked that Richard keep Utilities Director Tim Lawrence in the loop so that he can provide ongoing reports to the council.