NBC Field’s Point Wind Energy Project
NBC began investigating the use wind energy in 2005 as part of an EPA grant funded project to identify alternative energy opportunities for wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF). This work resulted in NBC applying for and receiving an additional $25,000 in grant funds, this time from the State of Rhode Island’s Office of Energy Resources (formerly the Rhode Island Energy Office), to conduct a detailed Wind Energy Feasibility Study at the Field’s Point WWTF.
As part of its Wind Energy Feasibility Study NBC collected 24 months of on-site wind resource data using meteorological equipment loaned to NBC by Roger Williams University, investigated permitting issues and potential environmental impacts (visual, wildlife, and noise), conducted a cost benefit analysis; and researched wind turbine design, availability and cost information. The study concluded that the Field’s Point WWTF site has sufficient wind resources and an appropriate infrastructure to support up to three utility scale wind turbines.
In March of 2008 NBC Notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of its plans to install wind turbines at the Field’s Point WWTF. The FAA regulates the construction/installation of tall structures in the vicinity of airports (the Field’s Point WWTF is approximately 4.5 miles north of the T.F. Green Airport). In July 2009 NBC held two public meetings with neighbors of the Field’s Point WWTF to discuss NBC’s plans for utilizing wind energy. During these meetings the attendees received information on the outcome of the NBC Wind Energy Feasibility Study and were shown a Wind Turbine Video simulating several views of a working wind turbine at the project site. Overall the public has and continues to show enthusiastic support of NBC’s use of wind energy.
In January 2010 after much discussion with the FAA and with assistance from the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, and an aviation consultant, NBC received FAA approval to install three wind turbines each with maximum heights of 360 feet at the Field’s Point WWTF. In March 2011 the City of Providence Zoning Board of Review granted a height restriction variance for these three wind turbines and NBC signed a contract with Gilbane Building Company to begin designing and building what will be the State of Rhode Island’s first wind farm.
NBC estimates that three 1,500 kW wind turbines will be capable of supplying between 35 to 45% of the current electrical power demand of the Field’s Point WWTF. The electricity produced by these turbines will offset approximately 3,000 tons/year of carbon dioxide that would have been released from fossil fuel generated electricity. The project is scheduled for completion in October 2012.