Port of Providence to Host Three New Onshore Wind Turbines

wind turbine port
Image courtesy Green Development LLC

By The Maritime Executive 11-24-2020 02:05:27

The port of Providence, Rhode Island will soon be getting three wind turbines - one on a spot of leased land within the port's grounds and two more on adjacent property owned by Johnson & Wales University. The 1.5 megawatt turbines are sponsored by the state's largest onshore wind developer, Green Development. 

“The city has been a supportive partner throughout this process, and we certainly appreciate working with Johnson & Wales and ProvPort to develop this important renewable energy project,” said Mark DePasquale, founder of Green Development. "Every time we get a project approved Rhode Island becomes a little less dependent on the fossil fuel industry.”

The project has received all required approvals from Providence's planning and zoning boards, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coastal Resources Management Council. The project will sell power directly to utility National Grid under its Renewable Energy Growth Program. The 325-foot turbines will be a bit shorter than the existing turbines located in the same area at the Narragansett Bay Commission. 

“We are excited to see additional renewable energy projects being developed along our waterfront. Our Port of Providence is well-positioned to support offshore wind development and I can’t think of a better symbol of sustainable investments in our community than projects like these,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

The site preparation and construction of the turbine foundations is expected to begin at the end of this year, and the turbines will be completed and operational by the third quarter of 2021.

“From our perspective, the wind energy sector is emerging and will help propel Rhode Island’s economy in the coming decades. We were the first port in the nation to support the development of the United State’s first offshore wind farm off of Block Island, and ProvPort is well-positioned to support future offshore and onshore wind development. Having a turbine right here at ProvPort was a natural fit for us, and furthers our goals of creating a more sustainable port,” said Chris Waterson, general manager of Waterson Terminal Services.

Like other northeastern states, Rhode Island aims to ramp up the share of renewables (including offshore wind) in its electricity mix. Last year, National Grid signed papers for a long-term power purchase agreement with the proposed 400 megawatt Revolution Wind project off Martha's Vineyard, and the power will serve Rhode Island end users. As of mid-2020, the state has committed to offshore wind capacity totalling 900 megawatts, and Gov. Gina Raimondo recently announced plans for a National Grid-administered RFP for an additional 600 megawatts of power.

Each offshore wind farm installation project requires access to a coastal port with no air draft restrictions, heavily reinforced docks and the skilled labor to assemble (or even manufacture) components. This employment opportunity has set off a competition among northeastern and mid-Atlantic ports to serve the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry.