BRISTOL, R.I._ “Wind energy is a good resource, especially for a state like Rhode Island” said Abigale Anthony, panelist at the Science Debate hosted last night, sponsored by Roger Williams University’s Hawk the Vote and Society of Professional Journalists. The four panelists discussed a variety of issues ranging from sustainability to education, women’s reproductive health to wind energy.
The ocean state has been utilizing the coast, churning out wind turbines, providing an alternative energy source for Rhode Islanders as well as contributing to new jobs in the region.
“Rhode Island is doing a great job investing in energy efficiency, we have the highest energy efficiency saving statistics in the country,” Anthony said, “It would make a lot of sense for Portsmouth to restart their wind turbine.”
Despite much success with wind energy, a 336-foot broken wind turbine has sat idle on the Portsmouth High School grounds since it’s failure in June 2012.
“The Town Council’s concern is that even though the wind turbine isn’t turning, that mortgage keeps showing up every month,” said James Seveney, Portsmouth Town Council President, “You know, these things are supposed to last 15-20 years, this one failed after three and no one could definitively determine there was something inherently wrong with the gearbox, or whether it wasn’t installed just right.”
The town of Portsmouth commissioned the 1.5-megawatt turbine in March of 2009, where they paid three million dollars to the supplier, AAER Wind Energy of Quebec, whose bid was nearly one million dollars less than competitors. The Town of Portsmouth became one of the first consumers of AAER’s wind turbines.
AAER later went out of business, soon after the failure of the Portsmouth turbine, leaving the town without a warranty to fall back on.
Wind energy, an expensive and somewhat risky venture, can boast great benefits.
Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build five wind turbines off Block Island would act as the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The plan is that much closer to fruition after Deepwater Wind received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, making the proposal reviewed and approved by a total of nine state and federal agencies.
“There is potential for wind energy in Rhode Island,” Anthony said.