Construction of Bayonne’s fossil-fuel busting windmill is back on track after a state agency has agreed to grant the Municipal Utility Authority one more year to complete the already delayed project.
The state Board of Public Utilities recently agreed to give the BMUA until next July to finish building a $5.6 million wind turbine that will provide electricity to run the Oak Street Pumping station and earn energy credits with PSE&G.
The MUA’s original deadline to qualify for the $823,600 grant under the BPU’s clean energy program expired on July 10.
The windmill was originally slated to begin operating at the end of last summer, but a number of glitches – including trying to buy a turbine manufactured in the U.S. – slowed the progress.
John Armstrong, senior associate with project managers Hatch Mott MacDonald, said he now expects the windmill to be finished by mid-February. Contractors are now sinking piles for the foundations of the 260-foot tower to support an Italian-made 1.5-megawatt wind turbine, BMUA executive director Stephen Gallo said.
Officials said trying to buy a turbine manufactured in the United States pushed the project completion date beyond the grant deadline.
Project managers Hatch Mott MacDonald had ordered a General Electric turbine to qualify for an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and low-interest loan, which required U.S.-made components.
But the deal with GE fell through and project managers had to scramble for an alternative manufacturer.
Hatch Mott MacDonald ultimately purchased the turbine from Leitner-Poma, an Italian-based manufacturer, that will use 45 percent of materials and components made in the United States, Armstrong said.
The company received a waiver from the federal government to secure an ARRA grant and low-interest loan. But by the time the company secured the waiver, the deadline with BPU had passed, Armstrong said.
The new windmill is expected to save the BMUA $7 million over the next 20 years, officials said.
On a dry day the pumping station pumps about 8 million gallons of untreated sewage to a Jersey City pumping station.
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