Addressing Real Issues with Real Facts

Addison Texas wind turbines by Rachel Knickmeyer

What About the Water Tower Wind Turbines?

in City Manager/Finances/Wind Turbines by

Many have asked what the status is of the non-functioning wind turbines. The previous City Manager recommended the turbines simply be taken down and discarded.

Rather than allow those critical tax dollars to be totally wasted, the City Council instead decided to try to recover for the taxpayers some of the $1.4 million that would otherwise be wasted. As a result of the Council’s decision to fight for the taxpayers, a law firm was retained and a lawsuit has been filed.

Imagine the shock and betrayal when it was found out that the Town’s longtime City Manager provided assistance to the defendants at the pre-trial mediation.

Facts: A status “Memorandum/Press Release For Town of Addison” prepared by the construction specialty law firm of SloanMatney

As part of the construction of the elevated water storage tank located at the intersection of Surveyor Boulevard and Arapaho Road, the Town of Addison commissioned the installation of a wind energy system to be placed on the top of this water tower with the intent that this system would satisfy the energy needs of the tower and nearby streets.

The installation of the wind energy system was completed in February 2012 by Landmark Structures, the sole bidder on the water tower project.  The wind energy system was designed and manufactured by Urban Green Energy.  The Town of Addison spent roughly $1.15 million in connection with the purchase and installation of the wind energy system.

Within three months of the wind energy system’s beginning its operation, one of its turbines fell from the water tower. After being taken out of service for retrofitting, the wind turbines were placed back at the tower.

However, in December 2012, a blade from one of the turbines spun off and landed on a conference table in a nearby building, necessitating that the turbines again be removed from service and re-engineered.  Just a few months following the second re-installation of the turbines, in January 2014, another wind turbine blade broke into multiple pieces and caused significant damage to the wind energy system.

Following the third failure of the wind energy system during its limited period of actual operation, the Town of Addison decommissioned this system and ceased its continued use out of both performance and safety concerns.

After more than a year of failed efforts from spring 2014 to summer 2015 to resolve the Town of Addison’s concerns about the performance of the wind energy system and in order to recover the substantial amount in taxpayer funds spent in connection with purchasing and installing this failed system, the Town of Addison instituted suit against Landmark Structures and Urban Green Energy in July 2015, alleging causes of action for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and negligence against these Defendants.

That case is currently pending as Cause No. DC-15-07691 before Judge Bonnie Lee Goldstein in the 44th District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

As part of the pre-trial process, the case was referred for mediation with Kyle Gooch, a Dallas-based construction attorney.

Without informing the Town of Addison of his intentions, former Addison City Manager Ron Whitehead appeared at the mediation with representatives of Landmark Structures, apparently to provide assistance on Landmark Structures’ behalf.  The parties ultimately failed to reach a settlement at mediation.

The case is presently set for trial on November 14, 2016, and the Town of Addison looks forward to presenting its evidence to a jury then.

Photo by Rachel Knickmeyer via Flickr

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