A project to build a wind turbine adjacent to the Port of Milwaukee’s administration building will move forward after a contractor agreed to increase its use of businesses owned by minorities or women.
The Board of Harbor Commissioners gave the project a go-ahead at a meeting Wednesday morning. The board had delayed action on the contract last month because of concerns about participation levels of minority and female-owned businesses.
“We’re excited to see this project move forward and we’re glad that the issues the board raised were able to be resolved successfully,” said Matt Howard, the city’s environmental sustainability director.
The low bidder on the project, Kettle View Renewable Energy of Random Lake, offered to boost minority hiring on the project in order to keep the project on track. The vote to approve the $520,922 contract was unanimous.
Construction of a foundation is expected to start in the coming weeks, with the tower and turbine to be installed in the spring.
The 154-foot turbine would be located just north of the port administration building on South Lincoln Memorial Drive, west of the Lake Express ferry terminal.
Kettle View was the low bidder among five firms that submitted proposals for the project.
As proposed, a combination of $400,000 in federal renewable-energy stimulus money and grants of up to $100,000 each from the state Focus on Energy Program and We Energies would pay for the wind turbine.
The turbine for the project would be made in Vermont by Northern Power Systems. Kettle View is considering a Wisconsin contractor for the turbine tower, said Erick Shambarger of the city’s environmental sustainability office.
The project aims to demonstrate the city’s commitment to clean energy and provide more than enough electricity to meet the needs of the port administration building.
The wind turbine that the city selected is less than half the height of a utility-scale wind turbine, such as those erected in Fond du Lac County in recent years.
It’s shorter than the Bay View Terrace condominium tower along the lake, but taller than the small turbines that are outside the Discovery World museum.
It would generate enough electricity over a year’s time to power up to 15 typical homes.
The city is forecasting savings on utilities plus energy-related revenues totaling $14,000 to $20,000 a year.
The turbine that’s planned for the site is the same model as those built in recent years around the state, at Wausau East High School, the Fort Atkinson campus of Madison Area Technical College and the Village of Cascade in Sheboygan County.
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