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Four of NYS Thruway's costly wind turbines stand idle. Why?

Tens of thousands of people every day drive past the towering wind turbines posted at four Thruway exits between Eden and the Pennsylvania state line.

But no matter how windy the day might be, those two-blade turbines stand motionless.

Just a few years after the New York State Thruway Authority spent about $5 million on five turbines, four of them stand dormant. And a spokesperson indicated the Thruway Authority does not know when they will become operational again.

"They are currently offline waiting for replacement parts and/or maintenance," spokesperson Jennifer Givner wrote in an email.

Several years ago, the Authority decided to spend $500,000 for design costs and up to $4.8 million to erect five turbines. Officials predicted they would generate enough energy to save the authority as much as $420,000 a year on energy bills.

Between 2013 and 2015, one turbine went up at each of five interchanges: Eden-Angola, Silver Creek, Fredonia, Ripley and Westfield.

But between October 2017 and January 2018, all of them except for the turbine at the Westfield interchange were taken offline. Givner said she did not know how much energy the turbines generated while they were operational.

The four inoperable turbines were manufactured by a French company, Vergnet, which declared itself insolvent a year ago. In recent months, a consortium, Arum International, has been in the process of taking over the company.

"We're working with the manufacturer to get replacement parts," Givner said. The Thruway Authority has not initiated any legal action against the company, she said.

The turbine in Westfield that is operational was manufactured by Northern Power Systems, a Vermont company.

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