Chevron chosen for Narragansett wind project

NARRAGANSETT, RHODE ISLAND - Rhode Island has selected Chevron Energy Solutions to develop and maintain several onshore wind turbines in the coastal town of Narragansett, Gov. Don Carcieri announced recently.

Chevron's proposal beat out bids from three other firms. It plans to finance the site work and turbine construction without funding from the town or state, Carcieri's office said.

Current plans call for the turbines to be built on four sites owned by either the town or the state. The first turbine could be finished by the end of next year, said Department of Environmental Management director W. Michael Sullivan.

"They were from an economic analysis both the strongest company, and they put more money for the state and the community on the table than anyone else," Sullivan said.

Each turbine could cost somewhere between $3 million to $3.5 million, Sullivan said.

The precise number of turbines hasn't been determined, nor has their height or capacity, Sullivan said.

The state initially selected five sites for the turbines in Narragansett — a coastal town in southeastern Rhode Island — but withdrew one and now plans to proceed on four properties, including at a wastewater treatment facility near Scarborough State Beach.

Chevron Energy Solutions, a clean energy company based in San Francisco, is a subsidiary of energy giant Chevron Corp. In a statement, Carcieri praised the company as a "proven leader in renewable energy" and said wind was the proven best source available for renewable energy.

The company said in a separate statement that it was pleased to have been selected and looked forward to helping the state and town meet their energy goals.

The turbines are separate from a larger wind farm that Carcieri has proposed building miles off Block Island with the goal of generating about 15 percent of the state's electricity. His administration has selected Hoboken, New Jersey-based Deepwater Wind LLC for that project.

Last summer, the town and state sent 34-question surveys to around 800 randomly selected Narragansett residents to measure public reaction to the proposal. More than three-quarters of respondents reacted favorably to the proposed turbines, Sullivan said.

John Torgan, of the environmental group Save the Bay, said his organization embraced wind energy but that it was imperative that sites for turbines be selected in as transparent a method as possible.

"In many ways, we're pioneering this for Rhode Island and for coastal areas. We don't have a lot of precedent, at least in Rhode Island, how to go on to develop these facilities. That's been part of the challenge," Torgan said.


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