School windmill to be repaired
Last Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009 | 8:31 AM AT
- CBC's Laura Chapin reports on the problems with the wind turbine at Gulf Shore Consolidated School (Runs: 5:36)
- Play: Real Media »
The P.E.I. government is stepping in to repair a wind turbine at a North Rustico school that hasn't worked for more than a year.P.E.I. Energy Minister Richard Brown says the province will hire a company to overhaul Gulf Shore Consolidated School's wind turbine. (CBC)
The province paid $200,000 for the 30-metre turbine at Gulf Shore Consolidated School, with the village taking out a $40,000 loan to cover the rest of the cost. It came with a 10-year warranty but the company that built it, Entegrity Wind Systems, is in receivership.
When the turbine was built, there were big plans for using it as an educational tool. Vicki Reddin-Gauthier, a board member with the Gulf Shore Development Association, told CBC News on Friday that teachers were designing curriculum around it.
"It's like our environment is a living lab," said Reddin-Gauthier.
Community chair Dave Blacquiere said revenue from electricity was supposed to cover the loan payments, build a pot of money for future repairs, and hopefully leave some money for the school.
"Maybe to buy more books, or to help with a milk program, or things like that," said Blacquiere.
But the turbine didn't work properly from day one.
"There wasn't too many days when I would drive home from Charlottetown and look up toward the windmill and see it running," Blacquiere said.
Through the summer and early fall there was hope Entegrity would be able to turn around its financial difficulties and honour the warranty. But the company was put into receivership in October.
Energy Minister Richard Brown said the province has agreed to hire a company to do the repairs.
"It's got to be done. We're doing it, and we'll settle it up later," said Brown.
The province intends to ask the receiver to cover the cost of the repairs and the money owed from lost power.
It's not clear how much money will be left for claims such as this, given that $13 million is owed to secured and unsecured creditors, and those claims will come first.
Rinks must wait for turbines
The Entegrity bankruptcy has also delayed a project that would have helped community rinks with electricity costs.
The province had planned to provide grants to five rinks to cover part of the purchase cost for wind turbines. Eighteen rinks applied for the program.
Entegrity was to be the supplier for the turbines. Brown was hopeful there would be enough time to find another supplier, but that hasn't worked out.
"A lot of rinks were hoping to have it up for this season; we're not going to make it this season," said Brown.
"We're hoping that for the next hockey season, the next rink season, these new turbines will be up and running and providing good power to these facilities."
The government will either issue the tender again for the rink projects, said Brown, or another turbine will be chosen to replace the Entegrity units that had been recommended for some rinks.
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