Hundreds of Tuscola County wind turbine motors being replaced, design flaw blamed

Steve Gauger, NextEra Energy Resources (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

More than 400 “defective” motors are being replaced on 134 wind turbines in Tuscola County due to a design flaw that has neighbors complaining of loud clunking noises.
A representative of NextEra Energy Resources L.L.C. said Thursday that the replacements on wind turbines within two of Tuscola County’s “wind farms” are well underway, not only to address the loud clunking but also because the motors are likely to fail.
He disclosed the information when providing the Gilford Township Board of Trustees an update on complaints received in 2016. The information is provided annually per township ordinance.
“The major complaints were the clunky noise and we’re in the process of resolving those,” said Steve Gauger, wind site manager, NextEra Energy Resources.
Gauger said he is in charge of operations and maintenance for all wind turbines in Gilford and Fairgrove townships that are part of either Tuscola Bay Wind Energy Center or Tuscola Bay II Wind Energy Center.
Power generated at Tuscola Bay is sold to DTE as part of a 20-year, $485 million contract announced in 2011. Tuscola Bay II also sells power to DTE. The company also wants to build Tuscola III Wind Energy Center in Fairgrove, Almer and Ellington townships and has filed special land use applications for the project that calls for 52 wind turbines and a price tag of about $200 million.
Gauger told the board that, in Gilford Township, NextEra Energy Resources “really only had four or five complaints” in 2016.
However, a copy of the complaint log was provided to The Advertiser by township supervisor Jim Stockmeyer and shows there were actually 30 separate complaints logged. (Read more)

(This story originally appeared in the Jan. 14, 2017 print edition of The Tuscola County Advertiser and can be read online in its entirety here.)

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