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CC-E discusses wind turbine plans

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Clay Central-Everly continued to discuss their plans for the wind turbine at the Royal building. Harold Prior, from the Iowa Wind Energy Association, has been consulting with the district since the beginning, researching the best options for the district in regards to the old turbine.

Since the previous board meeting, Prior has located the original signed agreement between IES/Alliant and Clay Central-Everly. The original agreement was signed for 33 years, of which they've completed 17.

"Alliant is very guarded about any change to the agreement," Prior told the board at Monday night's meeting. "In order to keep the agreement valid, the district needs to replace the broken machine with an identical model that produces at the same level."

If the new model was to produce more than the capability of the current turbine, the district would be paid four cents per kilowatt hour overproduced, rather than the six cents stipulated in the agreement.

To help assure that the agreement is kept valid, Prior suggested that the district have the project speculations reviewed by Alliant before any work is begun.

In addition, Prior spoke to the Iowa Department of Education regarding funding for the project. At the last board meeting, Prior estimated the price to range from $109,000 to $129,000. According to the Department of Education, major repairs on an existing turbine - such as a blade or generator - cannot come from equipment levies. However, replacing a turbine isn't considered a repair, and equipment levies can be used.

Because the existing turbine was considered remanufactured, though was determined to be faulty since installation, Board President Scott Rinehart expressed concern about replacing the existing turbine with another remanufactured model.

"We know who the legitimate remanufacturers are," Prior assured the board. "With one in particular, we've been to their facilities, and we've worked with them before on another project."

The board suggested holding a public meeting to gather community feedback on the project.

"It's a large amount of money," Clay Central-Everly district member Jerry Menke said. "The public should decide."

At $109,000, Prior estimates that, given ideal production, the turbine should pay off in 10 years, not including maintenance, insurance or repairs.

Prior also noted that a "legitimately remanufactured turbine holds its resale value," while a broken turbine, such as the existing machine in Royal, is worth its value in scrap metal.

In discussing the next step for the turbine, the board decided to hold a public hearing on Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. From there, they will continue their discussion regarding the project.

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SERIOUSLY!!! How can you even think about something that will take 10 years to pay off? PLUS, the added cost of maintenance, insurance and repairs. What if the school district is not open by then? Then who pays it off? Has the one that has been in place for 17 years even paid for itself? I say, scrap the old one AND the idea of a different one!!

-- Posted by hawkguy on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 9:03 AM

"At $109,000, Prior estimates that, given ideal production, the turbine should pay off in 10 years, not including maintenance, insurance or repairs." So what is the payoff when you factor in operation and maintenance? Are options being shown with less than "ideal production"? Mr. Prior is an honorable man but remember he is a wind advocate. The board needs to make sure it is looking at everything, not just recommendations presented through rose colored glasses.

-- Posted by RJT on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 8:50 AM

If I understand it correctly using PBEL money to reduce electric costs to the district actually increases the funds available for educating students. So it takes 15 years to pay back. That's maybe a $150,000 (including significant maintenance cost) funding increase available for education for that period. A fifteen year payback isn't too bad. Different ways to figure it but that could be construed as almost a 5% ROI annually. Who's paying that right now? After the fifteen years the increase in educational funds increases incrementally plus the reduced spending to pay for inflated electricity costs. It's maybe not that bad an idea.... if they have the PBEL fund dollars available to pay for it?

-- Posted by Mechler on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 6:23 PM

There will be a meeting at 6 PM on Monday, January 14, 2013, in the Everly music room for a presentation and to allow for public comment on the wind turbine initiative. Attendance and public comment by constituents is welcome and encouraged.

-- Posted by CCESupt on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 3:20 PM

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