Jamestown brass takes tour of Portsmo...

Jamestown brass takes tour of Portsmouth’s wind turbine

Posted in the Portsmouth Forum

Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#1 Jul 13, 2012
Jamestown brass takes tour of Portsmouth’s wind turbine
Credit: BY MARGO SULLIVAN, The Jamestown Press, www.jamestownpress.com 15 March 2012 ~~
"Jamestown officials are weighing the benefits of installing a wind turbine on the island to generate power. On March 9, several local leaders crossed the Newport Bridge to inspect the wind turbine behind Portsmouth High School and gain a close-up view of how it works.
The turbine’s performance has “exceeded expectations,” both with respect to generating electricity and revenues, according to the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee. In its first fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, the turbine accounted for $259,565 in net revenues after operating expenses of $203,174 were paid and $204,000 of the bond principal was retired.
But as luck would dictate, on the day Jamestown officials went to visit, the turbine blades failed to whirl, even though there was a gusty wind.
The 336-foot tall turbine had gone out of commission due to a power outage the night before, according to Gary Crosby, Portsmouth’s assistant town planner. He is also the man in charge of the technology.
As a safety feature, Crosby said, the turbine disconnects itself from the power grid during any outage. Normally he resets the computers himself, but this time, the manual reset failed and he was obligated to call the maintenance company.
The downtime was unusual. The Portsmouth turbine had been operating at 99.5 percent availability for the entire month of February, Crosby said. That number beat the original manufacturer’s warranty, which had promised 95 percent availability after the first six months of operation.
Nonetheless, Crosby and Gary Gump, chairman of the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee’s Sustainable Energy Subcommittee, went on with the show and led a tour of the turbine. Among those who joined consultant Harley Lee on the field trip were Town Administrator Bruce Keiser and Town Council members Michael Schnack, Ellen Winsor and Bill Murphy. Also tagging along were Town Planner Lisa Bryer, Town Engineer Mike Gray, Planning Commissioner Duncan Pendlebury and Zoning Board of Review member Joe Logan. Logan’s wife, Nancy, was also in attendance. She is a member of the Bike Path Design Committee.
The group – except for Keiser, who was on crutches – later climbed a rocky path to a clearing leading to the turbine platform. They ultimately entered the tower, which houses the equipment, including the cables that coursed down the 213–foot length of the tower. Black and green neon safety harnesses were stashed beside metal ladders, which Crosby and other workers have used to scale the turbine.
Crosby described the climb up to the top as “brutal.”
He also pointed out the metal box with the program logic controller software that runs the apparatus. Then he showed the group the manual reset button on the controller box. Typically, he said, he simply presses that button to restart the turbine. Thanks to the technology, he can even restart the turbine from his home, he added."

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