NORTH KINGSTOWN – The largest shipment of wind turbines to Rhode Island arrived in the Quonset Business Park this week.
A ship loaded with 10 turbines docked at the Port of Davisville on Tuesday and was in the process of being unloaded on Wednesday. The turbines were shipped from Germany in pieces – three tower sections for each turbine and a nacelle that houses the generator – and will be installed at sites in Rhode Island by North Kingstown-based Wind Energy Development.
One will replace the broken turbine at Portsmouth High School, which was installed in 2009 but has been idle since its gearbox gave out in 2012. The new turbine will go up later this month and is expected to start spinning in June, said Mark DePasquale, CEO of Wind Energy Development.
The nine others will be installed on farmland in Coventry and are expected to be in operation in mid-July. Three of them will be owned by the Town of West Warwick, which will use them to offset all of the electricity used by its municipal and school buildings. Three will be owned by the Narragansett Bay Commission to help offset electric usage at its wastewater treatment facilities. And Wind Energy Development will retain ownership of three and sell power from them to the regional electric grid.
Wind Energy Development has installed one turbine so far – a 1.5 megawatt machine at a housing development in North Kingstown. The 10 that arrived this week are also all rated at 1.5 megawatts and will stand 414 feet high when the tip of each blade is at its highest point. The new direct-drive turbines were made in Germany by Vensys, a company that says on its website that it has had 12,200 of its turbines installed around the world. The company has opened an office in North Kingstown next to Wind Energy Development’s headquarters.
The shipment is just the start of a push to install more land-based wind turbines in Rhode Island by DePasquale’s company. A second shipment of three turbines is expected at the end of the year. Another dozen or so turbines could come in 2017.
DePasquale is hoping that more communities will follow West Warwick’s lead. Not only is the town investing in clean energy, it’s locking in a predictable price of energy for years to come, he says.
“It is the future,” he said.
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