Council Hears Wind Turbine Proposals

The Portsmouth Town Council took no votes Monday night on what to do with the town's broken wind turbine generator.

The Portsmouth Town Council heard a number of possible outcomes for the town's wind turbine generator, but did not vote during public and executive session on Monday night. 

The town council is weighing possible options for its broken wind turbine generator, which has been stopped since last May. 

Last July, the town council learned repairing the wind turbine next to Portsmouth High School could . 

On Monday night, Gary Crosby presented the following two options for discussion to the council. 

The first option involves wind turbine repair and resuming operations, which includes the following: 


  • Town retains ownership of the turbine;
  • Town funds gearbox replacement and puts turbine back into operation;
  • Town continues to receive all revenue from the sale of power to National Grid;
  • Town signs an O&M contract with service provider;
  • O&M contractor is responsible for all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, minor repairs, and 24/7 monitoring at its expense;
  • O&M contractor guarantees availability will not drop below a certain level without penalty and gets a bonus if they exceed a certain availability level;
  • An insurance policy (paid for by the town) catastrophic failure & business interruption;
  • Capital reserve and turbine removal at end of life provided for in the economic model.

The second options would involve selling the wind turbine to a developer, and could involve the following: 

  • Wind developer assumes ownership, dissassembles and disposes of the existing wind turbine at no cost to the town; 
  • Wind developer installs, maintains, owns and operates a new wind turbine of the same size on the same site, again at no cost to the town; 
  • Wind developer enters a lease agreement with the town; 
  • At the point the new turbine becomes operational with the lease payments equal to paying off all of the town’s remaining debt service over a period of time; 
  • Wind developer enters into a power purchase agreement and sells power to National Grid under a Rhode Island distributed generation long-term contract; 
  • The town returns to purchasing power from National Grid as it did prior to wind turbine; 
  • Wind developer to remove the new wind turbine at the end of its useful life at no cost to the town.

What do you think about the possible options? What should be done with the Portsmouth wind turbine generator? Tell us in the comment section below! 

Bill Carson April 28, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Porstmouth Wind Turbine Update; The Portsmouth Town Council took no votes at the end of February on what to do with the town's broken wind turbine generator. The turbine is now in a legal mess that may take an act of the RI General Assembly. The Portsmouth Economic Development Committee and the former Pottsmouth Town Council rushed legislation through the RI General Assembly that allowed a one vote for a zero percent bond and the turbine in one single vote in 2007 called Senate Bill S 0260 . The town claims to have done it's "Due Diligence" in the purchase of the broken wind turbine. Now we find that in the rush to get a bond and the turbine quickley has the town over a legal issue trying to get a private wind turbine contractor involved with a municipal owned and voted for project. The broken Portsmouth wind turbine is viewed by 40,000 people a day as they travel on rte 24. The town can't sweep this under the rug. The Portsmouth High School wind turbine is making international news as a way not to build a municipal wind turbine. The turbine has brought to light the dirty little secret about gear box failures the industry has know about long before the installation of the Portsmouth wind turbine - A total failure of "Due Diligence ?
George Fleming May 19, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Old Townie, which person with the power to do something about this problem would be the most likely to listen to a proposal to not only fix it, but to convert the wind turbine into a valuable asset for everyone.
Bill Carson May 19, 2013 at 02:12 AM
The Portsmouth Economic Development Committee (PEDC) Sustainable Energy Initiative recommended buying a brand new 1.65 Megawatt turbine at one half the normal price from a brand new wind turbine company. After years of what was called "Due Diligence" the PEDC convinced the Town Council to float a bond and spend near 3 million dollars to buy the turbine from the bankrupt Canadian wind turbine company AAER. Many large turbine manufacturers have their own safety setbacks for ice throw, noise ,shadow flicker and blade throw.AAER had none! The larger wind companies like Furlander,General Electric and Vestas would never have built a megawatt turbine next the Portsmouth Town Water Tank ! It appears from a review of all the documents on the PEDC website that the town in general was in a rush to buy a wind turbine. The only company that would give them a deal and site the turbine was AAER INC. a wind turbine manufacturer who on the Canadian high risk venture stock exchange TSX was issuing forward looking statements - AKA they were on the verge of bankruptcy while negotiating a contract for the Portsmouth wind turbine.
Bill Carson May 19, 2013 at 02:14 AM
The town now looks for a private contractor to take over the poor location of the turbine within hundreds of feet of all kinds of legal isues which include power lines,town water tank,residents homes and high school ball field not to mention the highway next door with 40,000 cars going by each day ! Why setbacks to adequately reflect the 1,300-foot guideline advised by the megawatt turbine manufacturer ? Safety number one! In the Mechanical Operating and Maintenance Manual for many modern megawatt turbines it says:“Do not stay within a radius of 400 m (1,300 ft.) from the turbine unless it is necessary.” That 1,300 feet is more than three times the total height of the turbine – a significantly greater distance than the pre-existing ordinance set by many local cities and towns and is concerned with safety alone, not taking into consideration the noise, shadow flicker, or visual intrusion issues.
Bill Carson May 19, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Many modern megawatt turbines manual is a proprietary document that gives general guidance Manufacturers have done site-specific review of Portsmouth and other cities and towns and found them to be an unacceptable location for the large turbines. Most manufacturers today requires that turbines be situated no closer than 2,500 to an off-site residence, hotel or motel, hospital, day care center, sanitarium, nursing home, municipal building, school or educational building. THE BOTTOM LINE: THE PORTSMOUTH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE AND THE TOWN COUNCIL AT THAT TIME FAILED THE TAXPAYERS AND FAILED TO DO 'DUE DILIGENCE' HOW DID HIS HAPPEN ?


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