Waverly wind turbine is going up despite lawsuit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly wind turbine is going up despite lawsuit

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Three years after a Waverly wind turbine fell apart during the final stages of construction, construction for the replacement turbine begins.

"It's a great feeling," Waverly Light & Power Assistant General Manager Mike Litter said. "We've been waiting to finish this turbine for three years now since they had the accident, so to finally see it come to completion, it's a great feeling.

During February 2009, Industrial Contract Service, Incorporated assembled two wind turbines located northeast of Waverly.

Near the end of the construction of the second turbine, a construction issue occurred, and the blades, hub, and generator came crashing to the ground.

"Once the blades are feathered, then you can take out the lock pin, you slowly rotate the blades and pull the tip stand out," Westley Clark, with the turbine manufacturer explained in a 2009 interview. "What they did was they removed the lock pin, the blades starting spinning, and we evacuated the site."

Now the two parties are in the midst of a lawsuit, and it's something Waverly Light and Power can't discuss, but it's an issue that impacts almost everyone in Waverly.

"All of our revenues come from our consumers, who are our owners since we are a municipal utility, so yeah, the consumers pay for it. When we go through our lawsuit, we will recover the funds that we are spending, and then it won't cost the consumers more than it did for the original turbine," Litter said.

This time around there is a different contractor doing the job, Shermco, and Waverly Light and Power is a lot more confident that the end result will be different as well.

"Just knowing what happened last time, you can prevent that type of thing," Litter said.

For now, Waverly Light and Power will use funds designated for renewable energy projects for the reconstruction, but the utility will continue its battle in court in April 2013.

Time is of the essence right now because the utility's permit to build the wind turbine was about to expire.

The construction is expected to last the next two weeks.

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