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More wind turbine parts arriving in New Bedford, but Bourne delay means there’s nowhere to bring them

NEW BEDFORD – A second ship carrying turbine components for an onshore wind farm is scheduled to arrive at the Marine Commerce Terminal on Wednesday, but for the moment, there remains nowhere to take the massive parts shipped from overseas.

“All I can tell you right now is everything’s on hold,” said Ron Labelle, commissioner of New Bedford’s Department of Public Infrastructure. “I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen with the selectmen in Bourne.”

Bourne selectmen postponed a meeting Tuesday night at which they were scheduled to continue discussions of an easement through the town. The easement would enable transport of the turbine components from New Bedford to the site for the four-turbine wind facility, a farm on Head of the Bay Road. The farm is in Buzzards Bay, a section of Bourne north of the Cape Cod Canal and just south of Plymouth.

The 8-megawatt ConEdison Solutions turbine project is known as Future Generation Wind. The City of New Bedford will be a customer of the facility. A power purchase agreement approved last year states the city will buy 6.2-million kilowatt hours of wind power from the project per year, for the next 20 years.

Stephen F. Mealy, chairman of Bourne’s selectmen, said briefly by email on Tuesday that the meeting had been postponed and not yet rescheduled. He didn’t comment on issues involving selectmen’s decision July 14 to delay approval of the easement. CapeNews.net reported last week that issues included a need to temporarily remove 800 feet of guardrails on Head of the Bay Road, the road’s load-bearing capacity and more.

The massive turbine components are the first shipments to come into the $113-million terminal on New Bedford’s southern shore.

The first ship arrived July 6. Ed Anthes-Washburn, acting port director for the Harbor Development Commission, said the second is scheduled to enter the harbor at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, during high tide.

Anthes-Washburn and Christine Nevin, spokeswoman for ConEdison Solutions, said turbine parts had not yet been transported and remained at the terminal.

Nevin has said the parts are for Gamesa G97 turbines, producing 2 megawatts of power each. When a turbine’s blade is pointing straight up, perpendicular to the ground, a tower’s total height will be 493 feet, she said.

The turbine components were made by Gamesa, a Spain-based company that produces, maintains and operates wind-power facilities around the world.

Labelle said his department has been working with Gamesa to plan transport through New Bedford.

“Gamesa actually was in the city all day (Monday) with our engineering group, going over the route,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of preparation to be able to move these units through the city – they’re going to be 185 feet long.”

CapeNews.net reported that transporting the parts could involve up to 60 trucks over a three-week period, citing comments from contractors at the July 14 selectmen’s meeting in Bourne.

“We’re ready to go in New Bedford,” Labelle said Tuesday. “It’s going to be a pretty significant move.”

Nevin said Tuesday that ConEdison Solutions remained “unquestionably confident” that the project will move forward.

“It’s an important project for the region, we have all of the permits and a commitment in place, and we’re confident that we’ll see it through to completion,” Nevin said.