Chevron ES was one of four firms that responded to a joint Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the State and Town in April for experienced developers interested in constructing onshore wind turbine projects in Narragansett. Under the Chevron ES proposal, no state or municipal funds are required to site and construct the turbines. The proposal is designed to provide a sustainable wind energy supply to meet the needs of the state and town while maximizing potential revenue over the life of the generating facility. The wind power produced from these sites will address needs for DEM activities at the Port of Galilee and state camping and beach facilities located in Narragansett. Energy produced on Town sites will be used to power the sewage treatment plant and other municipal needs.
A review team consisting of representatives from the Governor’s Office, DEM, DOA, EDC, Town of Narragansett, and URI met six times to review the proposals. Chevron’s proposal unanimously scored the highest among all proposals submitted based on the criteria evaluated, such as the number of on-shore wind power facilities completed or in permitting stages, the energy generating capacity of facilities built and operated, prior project history, performance, and commitment to employ Rhode Island-based vendors and professionals. Chevron is one of the largest companies in the world and has sufficient technical and financial backing to design, build and operate wind turbine facilities.
“As a state, we have made a strong commitment to expand our use of renewable energy sources, especially wind power, whether it be off shore or land-based,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “As we move forward to develop the country’s first deepwater, offshore wind project, it is important to support the development of other wind projects that can help control the state’s energy costs. Of the many forms of renewable energy alternatives available, wind is the proven leader. Wind power is clean, green power that is not subject to variations and increases in fuel price. Chevron is a proven leader in renewable energy and a proven partner with states and municipalities.”
“Chevron Energy Solutions is pleased with the opportunity that the State of Rhode Island and the Town of Narragansett have given us through their selection of Chevron ES to develop the Onshore Wind Turbine Partnership,” said Jeffrey Williamson, General Manager, East Region, Chevron Energy Solutions. “We look forward to working with the State and Town to provide a successful renewable energy project that will ‘unlock’ the value of wind resources that have been available for years. Through this implementation of the wind project the State and Town will be able to help their citizens gain energy security with limited capital resources. Chevron ES is proud to be working with the State and Town on this exciting renewable energy project.”
DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan expressed appreciation for the partnership opportunities with the Town and the quality of the proposal from Chevron. “It is important to demonstrate that the economic aspects of conservation and land stewardship are not always conflicting and that conservation projects can allow a landscape to work for the betterment of the State and our environment. The collective step we take with this action moves us to a more detailed assessment of each site and their individual and collective strengths in the final decision making.”
Narragansett Town Council president, David J. Cook, Sr., commented, “The Town of Narragansett looks forward to a continuing relationship with the State Department of Environmental Management with respect to alternative energy options, and in particular wind energy. The potential for wind energy in our coastal community deserves further study and evaluation, and today’s economic conditions also mean that alternative energy sources must be considered. The Town is committed to a careful, thoughtful, and thorough review process with RIDEM and the selected vendor.”
On Monday, the Narragansett Town Council voted to approve the selection of Chevron as the preferred vendor for the project and authorized the Town to continue negotiations with DEM and Chevron for construction of the wind turbines.
The three proposed DEM controlled properties are Camp Cronin, Black Point, and property on the southwest side of the Galilee Escape Road. The proposed Town of Narragansett properties include the Scarborough Treatment Plant on Ocean Road, adjacent to Scarborough State Beach, and the Department of Public Works site on Westmoreland Street, approximately ½ mile east of Mariner Square. The exact locations and number of wind turbines that will be constructed will be determined during the negotiation and assessment process.
In October, DEM in partnership with the Town of Narragansett released the results of a survey of Narragansett residents on renewable energy and the possible installation of three to six wind turbines on State and/or Town properties in Narragansett. There was clear support for moving away from fossil fuels and using more clean energy, with 97 percent of respondents indicating this was an important issue. Further, 91 percent said that clean energy would be good for the state’s economy, and 89 percent had positive opinions on the use of wind turbines to generate electricity. The majority of responders – 75 to 78 percent – supported land-based wind turbines in Narragansett, with wind turbine development limited to one or two structures on a parcel of land and three to five wind turbines being located in town.
Respondents were asked to rate the impact of wind turbines on 16 specific issues such as job creation, air pollution, electricity rates, tourism, taxes, noise and environmental considerations. Respondents said wind turbine projects in Narragansett would have a positive impact on electricity rates (71 percent), creation of new jobs (55 percent), general environmental considerations (54 percent), and air pollution levels (44 percent.) In total, 78 percent said the wind turbines would have a positive impact on residents from an overall view of the project.
Information on a host of renewable energy topics is available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov, by selecting “Renewable Energy” on the left side of the homepage. In addition to the Narragansett RFP and survey, the site also includes photos of the proposed Narragansett wind turbine sites and information on wind, sighting guidelines, the MET tower, and energy efficiency. The entire survey report is also available on this site.