Storm takes down wind turbine at Salty Brine

A wind turbine collapsed at Salty Brine Beach in Narragansett. (photo: Kim Kalunian/WPRI)

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – In the end, the wind turbine was no match for the wind.

A 100-foot tower holding up a wind turbine at Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett was brought low by Tuesday’s winter storm, tearing through the roof of a small structure and leaving significant damage.

Larry Mouradjian, associate director of natural resources management for the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, called it “an amazing sight,” noting: “I mean, you can see 4-inch galvanized pipe that just snapped in half.”

“In these kinds of oceanfront environments, you can never tell what the power of nature is going to do to you,” he said.

Eyewitness News reporter Kim Kalunian gave a tour of the damage on Facebook Live:

Mouradjian said the wind turbine was made of galvanized steel and had survived other storms, and officials were relieved no one was hurt. A decision will now have to be made on whether to replace the turbine.

The turbine’s construction was completed in 2010 as part of a $1.9-million project to build a new energy-efficient bath house at Salty Brine, according to DEM and Northeast Engineers & Consultants Inc., which worked on the project. The R.I. Commerce Corporation provided a $32,175 grant for the turbine through its renewable energy fund.

“Construction began with the assembly of the 100-foot lattice tower, which was constructed on its side, in the adjacent parking lot,” Northeast Engineers explained on its website. “The turbine was then assembled and attached to the top of the tower with the use of a 100-ton crane. After the completion of the electrical system, the tower and turbine were hoisted and placed on the concrete foundation.”

The turbine was deactivated in February 2015 after sustaining damage in another winter storm, according to a Providence Journal report that year.

Ted Nesi contributed to this report.

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