Twelve Potential Wind Turbine Spots Proposed by Naval Station Newport
Following an Evaluation Assessment, the end result could be different areas with potentially different size wind turbines.
Several tables were set-up with experts at each for attendees to walk through, and they were encouraged to write down questions and feedback to drop into boxes. Captain Joseph Voboril, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Newport, greeted guests, listened to concerned residents, and explained the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the development of wind energy facilities at Naval Station Newport.
The Open House began at 4 p.m. and within an hour, about 80 attendees had already been through. A packet of information was given to all, explaining the goals of the project to ensure long-term sustainability of Naval Station Newport.
Naval Station Newport is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the state of Rhode Island, spending an average of $12 million annually. The base load electrical consumption is approximately nine megawatts and the proposed wind turbine project will potentially produce up to these nine megawatts, representing 26-percent of current annual electrical consumption. This would result in at least a $3 million savings, the materials explained.
As previously noted, Naval Station Newport aims to become more self-sufficient and maximize the Navy’s ability to meet or exceed renewable power supply goals mandated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Order 13423.
The wind turbines would be constructed at some combination of twelve sites on Naval Station Newport, ranging from Portsmouth down to Newport. Joanne Galuska, Deputy Public Works Officer of Naval Station Newport, said the end result could be a couple of different areas with potentially different size wind turbines.
“We’ve done extensive research regarding these 12 proposed sites,” Galuska said. “The space around the turbines needs to be 1.5 times its height, and the Federal Aviation Administration limits the height as well.”
The EA, which has been initiated by Captain Voboril, is in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. It is expected to be completed in September 2011 and the EA will be one of the determining factors. In addition to compliance with the FAA, other criteria for placement and sizes include:
- Efficient and cost effective construction and maintenance.
- No significant adverse impact on natural resources, cultural resources, protected species, human environment or socioeconomics of the region.
- Geotechnical requirements for structural considerations.
Residents that attended the event had several concerns, mostly because they didn’t want to see the turbines from their homes. To address those concerns and others, many studies are in the works for a Bird and Bat Biological Survey, a Noise and Shadow Flicker Study, and a Marine Mammal Observation Study.
Captain Voboril said that this has been in the works for about three years.
“It’s taken this long to come to this point. In fact my predecessor was the first to begin the research. But we’re excited to be here,” he said.
It would be another couple of years before the turbines were actually constructed. Naval Station Newport would still need to seek funding for the project, and then it would need to be designed and then, finally, construction.