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Small Town’s Megawatt-Sized Wind Turbine Success

Posted March 24, 2009 by

NARRAGANSETT, RI – The Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island erected and commissioned the state’s second utility-scale, megawatt-sized wind turbine.  The small town is recognized as a successful model in municipal sustainable energy projects that can offset rising town budgets and provide clean energy at the same time.  Many people in the state, including ASA’s wind energy expert, Daniel Mendelsohn, who worked on the project, applaud Portsmouth’s leadership and commitment in perusing alternative energy solutions at the municipal level.

Without relying on the State or waiting for more incentives from the federal government, Portsmouth’s Economic Development Committee (PEDC) Sustainable Energy Subcommittee began working on the potential use of wind power to provide for some of the Town’s energy needs starting back in 2003.

Today, the wind turbine rotors are spinning atop a 213-foot tower and the final stages of the project have come together as news crews and on looking townspeople witnessed the state?s second and largest wind power energy generating turbine going up on Portsmouth High School grounds.  During the early, planning stages, Portsmouth turned to Daniel Mendelsohn, ASA’s energy resources group lead and wind energy development project manager, to lead the wind feasibility study, siting analysis, and project support.  The selected windy site is close to the highest point on Aquidneck Island and the turbine has begun producing electricity for the high school, municipality, and excess power will be sold back to the grid.

Daniel Mendelsohn and many throughout the state, applaud the town’s Economic Development Committee, headed by Richard W. Talipsky, Sustainable Energy Subcommittee Chairman, Gary Gump and Portsmouth Town Council President Dennis Canario, for making this initiative a reality which has now become a national municipal renewable energy success story and model.

“The way in which we produce, use and even experience energy is going to necessarily and dramatically change in the near future for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the decreasing supply, increasing price, and environmental impacts of fossil fuels. The folks at Portsmouth have shown us that something can be done about it, right here and now.  Working with the Town, we have shown that a significant, technically and economically feasible project is possible and not only acceptable but welcomed by residents,” said Daniel Mendelsohn.

Mr. Mendelsohn was proud to provide an early advisory role to the town as they planned for this since early 2003.

Portsmouth’s wind turbine generator is expected to provide over 3 million kilowatt-hours of power per year, which is enough to meet at least three-quarters of the needs of the municipal buildings in the town and generate a net savings of over $100,000 each year. Over its expected 20-year minimum lifetime, the net cumulative savings are projected to be nearly $3 million. Funding for the project was authorized via a bond referendum approved by Portsmouth voters last November which allowed the borrowing of up to $3 Million to pay for the effort. The bulk of the borrowing was an interest-free Clean Renewable Energy Bond.

ASA’s Daniel Mendelsohn led a team of four contractors on the project including Loria Emerging Energy Consulting, Sustainable Energy Advantage and Rich Gross Electrical. Construction was managed by Canadian company, AAER, Inc. who also manufactured the turbine used at the site.
ASA is involved in several renewable energy engineering support projects worldwide and has additional northeast U.S. wind farm and wind feasibility project contracts pending.  Northeast wind energy projects that ASA is presently involved in include a technical and economic feasibility study for the Town of Jamestown, RI, a feasibility study of Peddocks Island in Boston Harbor for the Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation and a detailed feasibility and environmental impacts study for a wind power production facility at a land site on Cape Cod, Offshore wind projects in which ASA continues to be  involved are for the analysis of potential impacts from a proposed Nantucket Sound Wind Farm in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts, for Cape Wind Energy LLC and the RIWINDS Wind Feasibility Assessment & Siting Study for the Rhode Island Governor’s Office to assess the feasibility of producing 15 percent of the state’s aggregate electrical demand from wind generation.

Contact Lee Dooley by e-mail ldooley@asascience.com or by phone +1 401-789-6224 for more information or for high resolution photographs of the turbine/construction or for sample ASA wind feasibility and siting analysis software interfaces.

For more information about ASA visit http://www.portsmouthrienergy.com

For more information about AAER, Inc.: http://www.aaer.ca/

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