Four wind turbines placed beside the Tehachapi Wastewater Treatment Plant are on the city's "for sale" list after the City Council's Oct. 22 vote.
Assistant City Manager Chris Kirk presented the request to the council. In his report, Kirk said:
"These turbines were not new at the time of installation and required rehabilitation work before they were operational. Additionally, the turbines were de-rated in such a way that they would produce less power than the turbines were originally intended to generate when new."
Grant funding paid for one of the turbine's installation in 2002, while the other three were put to use in 2005.
Kirk said city staff worked with representatives of Southern California Edison and the wind industry to try to gauge the energy savings reaped from the turbines. Staff concluded that the information was "not readily discernible due to a lack of useful generation monitoring equipment."
Kirk said staff conducted an informal test of the cost-savings, comparing a month when the turbines did not operate to the same month from the prior year when they were operational.
"The savings were negligible," Kirk said.
The assistant city manager also said three of the four turbines are not even operational, and the cost to repair them would be about $20,000.
Despite the obvious problems associated with the equipment, Kirk said the city has been offered up to $10,000 per turbine, including the removal of the turbines at the buyer's cost.
"So there is some value left in them, if not from an operational standpoint for us," Kirk said.
Mayor Phil Smith asked whether solar modules had been considered as replacements for the turbines, and whether they might possibly provide better energy savings. Kirk said no plans were currently in the works, though the idea had been explored.
"Sustainability is always a great idea," Kirk said.