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Crews remove 213-foot-tall wind turbine in Portsmouth

After five days of work, crews have finished disassembling a 213-foot-tall wind turbine in Portsmouth.

The turbine, which is located at Portsmouth High School, was built in 2009 but has been idle since 2012 because of a faulty gearbox.

The company that made the turbine and gearbox has since gone bankrupt.

Wind Energy Development of North Kingstown started dismantling the turbine Tuesday and finished on Saturday, according to owner Mark Depasquale.

Along with removing the broken turbine, the company will be building a new 279-foot-tall wind turbine at the school. The new turbine will supply energy for Portsmouth’s municipality buildings.

“This new one will last well over 25 years if it’s maintained properly,” said Depasquale. “We’re predicting it’s going to produce about 5.4 million kilowatts a year.”

For the building rights, the company agreed to pay off Portsmouth’s’ remaining $1.4 million bond the town took out to build the original turbine. In return, the town has agreed to buy electricity from WED for the next 25 years, at no more than 15.5 cents per kilowatt an hour.

A good deal according to Portsmouth resident Tom Schindler.

“I have a funny feeling energy prices are going nowhere but up,” said Schindler. “15.5 cents a kilowatt an hour is going to be a good deal 20 years from now.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of June. Depasquale said the new technology in the turbine is coming with a 10-year warranty and it will be the company’s responsibility to repair any problems.

While most residents NBC10 spoke with on Saturday were happy that Portsmouth remains committed to green energy, some are worried this new turbine could be another let down.

“It’s wasted tax dollars when it comes down to it,” said John Urban. “It’s disappointing when you see something that’s supposed to be so cutting edge, so environmentally friendly and so efficient and it works for a handful of months and then it’s not working for three years.”