GREAT FALLS — Cascade County officials say the wind turbine at the county shop hasn't met expectations that it would generate up to 80 percent of the facility's energy costs, in part because the site isn't as windy as officials anticipated.
The Great Falls Tribune reports at the turbine's current rate of power production, it would take the county nearly 34 years to recover its $202,000 investment. The expected life of a turbine is 25 years.
The newspaper reports that county commissioners voted to install the 150-foot-tall tower and 50-kilowatt turbine in 2008 without conducting a wind study.
On average, the shop turbine is generating $6,000 in electricity each year, or 34 percent of the shop's electricity bill.
The turbine has been idle for much of this year due to a mechanical issue.