This is a fantastic article in today's Providence Journal (RI's biggest newspaper) Please go to projo.com directly and read the article - I want to make it the "most read article" of the day, pushing it to the top of the list, encouraging more to read it! Need some help here! Thanks, Kim Our Governor HAS signed the pledge.... you can see why!
Please, also, congratulate our 2 newest 100CLUB members - Richard Perez and Lorrie Lee.
"Massive pieces of Portsmouth wind turbine to be shipped from Quonset across Bay"
1:00 AM EST on Saturday, February 7, 2009
By Alex Kuffner, Journal Staff Writer
NORTH KINGSTOWN — One mast, measuring 80 feet in length and 13 feet in diameter, rested on a barge docked at Quonset Point. Another was nearby on the old Carrier Pier, waiting to be shipped out.
The two pieces are part of a massive wind turbine that is being installed in Portsmouth. They were built in Quebec and trucked to Rhode Island. With a combined weight of 100 tons, the parts were too heavy to be transported across the Jamestown Bridge. So yesterday, teams from AAER, the Canadian manufacturer, and Specialty Diving Services, the barge operator, prepared them for the 90-minute trip by boat across Narragansett Bay.
This could be a glimpse of the future for Quonset. Several wind-power developers have targeted the Quonset Business Park as a potential site to assemble turbines.
Cape Wind has proposed using the waterfront park as a staging area to put together turbines for a wind farm in Nantucket Sound off the Massachusetts coast. The company says the work could generate more than $30 million in wages for Rhode Island residents alone.
TPI Composites, a Warren-based company that manufactures wind-turbine blades, has talked with state officials about the possibility of building a facility in the business park.
And as part of an agreement signed in January for a wind farm off Block Island, Deepwater Wind plans to build a manufacturing facility in the park that will employ 800 people and generate $60 million in annual wages.
With the country mired in a recession that has hit Rhode Island hard, state officials are looking at the renewable-energy industry as a potential bright spot, especially with the Obama administration pushing aggressively to promote alternative energy.
The importance of the wind-power market to the state was signaled by the presence of Governor Carcieri at Quonset yesterday. He was joined by other state officials along with Rep. Larry Ehrhardt, R-North Kingstown, and Portsmouth Town Council President Peter J. McIntyre.
“What I hope is this is the beginning for a thriving industry,” Carcieri said.
He called Quonset a perfect location for the construction and assembly of wind turbines. Because of existing roads, rail lines and piers in the business park, as well as its proximity to sites for proposed wind farms in New England, it is a convenient transportation hub for components.
Deepwater Wind expects to complete the initial phase of its project — installing eight turbines in state waters — by 2012. The New Jersey-based company may not be the only green-energy developer to take advantage of what Quonset has to offer, said Steven J. King, managing director of the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC), which manages the business park.
“Deepwater sets the stage as we go forward,” he said. “Others could follow in their footsteps.”
The firm expects to break ground on its manufacturing facility next year. The QDC is considering leasing Deepwater Wind 14 acres on the waterfront, an important parcel for the company because it plans to ship turbine sections to sea from Quonset.
The company will need additional land in the business park but it’s still unclear how much and where it would be located, according to spokespersons for both Deepwater Wind and the QDC.
During a tour last month of the business park, King said Deepwater Wind could require more than 100 acres in the park, which it might occupy for up to 15 years. The company would use the land in the immediate future to assemble turbine parts for wind farms in Rhode Island and New Jersey and, potentially, in the long term, for other projects on the East Coast.
John Duffy, a spokesman for Deepwater Wind, said the company is currently evaluating parcels in the business park to see which ones suit its needs. The firm must have an option in place on land in the park 180 days from the Jan. 2 signing of the agreement with the state.
One option for the company is to take over land in the park that was used by Cardi Corp. to build the Providence River Bridge. The bridge, constructed as part of the Iway project, was moved by barge up Narragansett Bay in August 2006.
King said the transportation of the turbine parts destined for Portsmouth demonstrates Quonset’s ability to support renewable energy projects and off-shore construction.
“This is an example of the types of things that will occur as we move into the construction of the larger offshore wind project proposed by Deepwater Wind,” he said.
The $2.9-million turbine being taken to Portsmouth was partly financed by the state’s Renewable Energy Fund. The machine will dwarf the only other industrial-size turbine in the state: a 241-foot high machine at Portsmouth Abbey, a parochial school overlooking Narragansett Bay. Not only will the town’s turbine stand 336 feet tall but it is also being installed on the second-highest hill on Aquidneck Island.
When it goes online later this month, it will be able to provide 60 percent of Portsmouth’s municipal electricity: power for street lights, public schools, the Town Hall and other buildings.
Carcieri put a twist on a line made famous by an Alaskan governor as he spoke yesterday of his support for wind power.
“Our motto is ‘Spin, baby, spin,’ ” he said. “We want to see more of these things go up.”
HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE