Portsmouth’s broken wind turbine coming down

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — The turbine at Portsmouth High School will be taken down Tuesday.

The town built the turbine in 2009, and it worked very well for about three years. It created more than enough electricity for all of the town’s buildings.

“During that time, the wind turbine, after paying its mortgage and all the operating costs, made the town $400,000,” Town Council Vice President Jim Seveney told Eyewitness News.

Unfortunately, the gear box on the turbine broke, and the company that built it had gone bankrupt. That left the town with a 214-foot broken turbine, and a towering $1.5 million mortgage.

Wind Energy Development, a North Kingstown-based company, has now stepped in to take the mortgage off the hands of Portsmouth’s taxpayers.

“Most of it will be paid off by WED as part of the agreement, and they will take down the existing wind turbine and put up a new one,” Seveney explained.

Portsmouth will still buy the credits for the renewable energy the new turbine will generate, but won’t have to deal with maintenance or that hefty mortgage.

“We will fund it. We will operate it. We will maintain it, and we will supply the town with their power for the next 25 years,” WED owner Mark Depasquale said.

The new turbine is expected to be operational by late spring. It will stand about 65-feet taller, and capture more wind than the current turbine.

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