NEW BEDFORD – A second ship carrying turbine components for an onshore wind farm was scheduled to arrive at the Marine Commerce Terminal last week, but there was 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’s address is listed as Buzzards Bay, north of the Cape Cod Canal and just south of Plymouth. The property extends into Plymouth, though, and the entire wind turbine project would be located in the Plymouth portion.
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 in an email on Tuesday that the meeting had been postponed and not yet rescheduled. He didn’t comment on issues involving a decision by selectmen on July 14 to delay approval of the easement. The Bourne Enterprise reported 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 in New Bedford.
The first ship arrived July 6. Ed Anthes-Washburn, acting port director for the Harbor Development Commission, said the second ship was 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, each producing 2 megawatts of power. 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 (July 20) 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.”
The Enterprise 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.
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