MUC approves turbine commissioning payment
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved a 5 percent commissioning payment to a contractor for the city's two new wind turbines.
The $235,627 payment to turbine contractor DeWind of Irvine, Calif., was approved by the commission during a special meeting Friday. The commissioning process involves testing the different functions of the turbines before the turbines begin producing power, said Bruce Gomm, Municipal Utilities general manager.
"Most people are probably aware that for the last month or so, there have been a lot of starts and stops,'' Gomm said. "They're not always been running when the wind is blowing. That's all part of the commissioning: the final testing and tweaking of all components inside the turbine. Now that that process is complete, this 5 percent payment is now due.''
The contract price for each turbine was $3.1 million, which covered the tower sections, the nacelle (the unit on top where the electricity is generated) and the blades. The commissioning payment was stipulated in the contract with DeWind.
After the commissioning payment is made, the utility will still owe DeWind 5 percent or about $310,000, which will be paid after everything on the project is completed, he said.
"We're expecting (everything to be completed) probably within a month,'' said Gomm.
The total cost of the turbine project was just under $10 million. Other costs beside the towers, nacelles and blades included site excavation and preparation, construction of the foundations, transportation and crane service.
Gomm there was some discrepancy in the cost of the project as stated at Thursday's dedication program. He said the utility bonded for $8.1 million and paid the remainder out of the generation reserve fund.