It Gets Cold In Minnesota?

It is laudable when individuals or businesses deploy alternative energy generation systems, be they small or large. It's great...as long as they work.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Municipal Power Authority erected 11 wind turbines in a number of cities around Minneapolis/St. Paul this past fall. The plan was to have all of them up and running by Christmas. The turbines were refurbished units originally used at a California wind farm. After reconditioning they were shipped from California to Minnesota and erected.

In southern California it's warm, even in winter. In Minnesota, it's cold from late fall through spring. In fact it's more than just cold, it's freakin' cold. Apparently the folks in California weren't aware of this fact.

The turbines sit idly in Anoka, North St. Paul, Chaska, Shakopee, Buffalo and six other cities, all members of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA). The refurbished, 115-foot towers had operated on a California wind farm, where they didn't have to worry about cold hydraulic fluid turning to gel and oil lubricants getting too sluggish.

Fluids and lubricants that worked well in California didn't work at all in below freezing temperatures, gumming up the works and bringing the turbines to a halt until spring. That turned them into expensive monuments to facts overlooked.


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