After the failure of a Lagerwey 850 kW machine in the extreme conditions at Gütsch ob Andermatt in Switzerland, the owner of the machine, local utility Elektrizitätswerk Ursern, has decided to replace it with an Enercon 600 kW turbine. The utility is still enthusiastic about its "visionary idea" of installing a wind turbine at a site lying 2332 metres above sea level where wind speeds average 7 m/s. But the Lagerwey turbine installed in spring 2002 had to be switched off last winter for safety reasons after cracks appeared in the blades. "The pilot turbine suffered diverse teething troubles from the very beginning and a series of unhappy circumstances led to the closure," the company says. These included the bankruptcy of Lagerwey in summer 2003. The utility reached an agreement back in March with general contractor ABB over guarantees and dismantling. The replacement Enercon is a special model adapted to Antarctic conditions, where the technology has been demonstrating its ability to withstand extremes of climate (Windpower Monthly, March 2003).
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