Twenty-one wind turbine blades, each 200 feet long, have arrived at the Port of Davisville from Germany and under the cover of darkness and when there is the least traffic will make their trip to Johnston over the next several days starting Monday.
Each of the blades will be carried on a single truck said Bill Fisher, spokesman for Green Development, LLC that is building the state’s largest on-shore wind farm in Rhode Island. The projected cost of the development over seven sites with each of the turbines producing 3 megawatts of electricity is $84 million. At their zenith, the blades will reach 512 feet above the ground.
Between on-shore wind and solar farms, Fisher believes Green Development will be the state’s largest producer of renewal energy. Fisher said Green held a job fair this week, which he said was successful, and that the company with a local staff of 50 is expected to grow to 150 over the next couple of years.
Fisher said the turbine tower components are expected to arrive in October and erection of the 21-megawatt (MW) wind farm beginning shortly thereafter.
“This is a major step for renewable energy development in Rhode Island,” Mark DePasquale, founder and chairman of Green Development, LLC said in a statement. “There is an enormous amount of planning to get to this stage, but the projects always seem more real when the components begin to arrive. This wind farm will truly benefit Rhode Island by helping to meet our renewable energy goals as well as the Town of Johnston.”
The blades will travel from Quonset up Route 4 to I-95 north and from there onto I-295 north to Johnston. It will take about an hour and a half to transport each blade. Each transport will have a State Police escort along with additional support vehicles.
The project is fully permitted by the Town of Johnston and Green Development has begun site preparations, including concrete foundations, on private land it is leasing for the installation. Green expects all seven Vensys direct-drive turbines, manufactured in Germany, to be fully constructed and operational by the end of the year.
The Town of Johnston will realize significant economic benefits from the project. First, Green will make a one-time payment to the town of $175,000 to develop a scholarship fund. Additionally, over the next 20 years, Green will make tax payments of $20,000 per year per turbine, for a total of $140,000 per year to the town.
Green Development installed its first wind turbine in North Kingstown in 2012 and developed a ten-turbine wind farm (1.5 MW each) in Coventry in 2016. They also replaced the turbine at Portsmouth High School.