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Editorial: Give the turbines time to be setup

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Many citizens supported the city's purchase of two new wind turbines. Now some are concerned any day that the turbines are not turning, especially during high wind days.

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It is time for all to take a deep breath.

The fact remains that turning on and operating any large wind turbine is not as easy as flipping the electric switch in your living room.

Willmar Municipal Utilities and turbine manufacturer DeWind have been working in recent months to address operational glitches, such as blade chips or switch/breaker settings, and equipment problems, such as a low-oil sensor reading in September or the lack of a cold weather package discovered in early December.

These various issues are being addressed appropriately, which is all part of the start-up and fine-tuning of any major project.

The Willmar turbines are among the most sophisticated and efficient on the market today. The turbines are expected to generate about 3 percent of the city's electrical needs and they will.

Citizens should not get irate right now when they see a turbine not turning on a windy day. There may be a very adequate reason, such as in late September when a sensor indicated a low-oil problem in the north turbine. To continue running the turbine with a low-oil problem in a gearbox could have destroyed valuable equipment.

City utility staff and others are working to complete the equipment setup and fine-tune the various sensor/breaker settings to get the turbine operation to peak performance.

Citizens should be glad the city and its staff have developed and launched the city's wind turbine project.

Willmar is once again showing critical leadership within the city by developing this local energy source.

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