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Seen first hand, Ogdensburg wind turbine project larger-than-life


Observers enjoying the bird’s eye view from Ford Street can see that the Port of Ogdensburg is abuzz with activity, but the sheer size and scope of the project is most apparent up close.

St. Lawrence County Legislator Vernon “Sam” Burns, R-Ogdensburg, and Conservative Party Chairman Henry R. Ford toured the port Wednesday.

“This is really amazing,” said Mr. Burns. “It’s good to see so much activity here.”

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis led the pair through a maze of gargantuan wind turbine components that arrived at the St. Lawrence River facility by ship and rail. Mr. Davis said that without $100,000 in port improvements and a $1.8 million port access road, the project may not have happened.

“This was a real team effort, everything had to come together,” he said.

“I’d always dreamed of something being down here,” said Mr. Ford. “It seemed like people thought about it as a drop-off area for salt.”

Now, the port brims with cargo that made the mini-van tour vehicles appear lilliputian in comparison.

“It looks like you guys have your hands full with this,” said Mr. Ford.

Mr. Davis said the wind turbine project was one the authority hoped to build upon.

“We have a lot more than salt going on here,” said Mr. Davis, dwarfed by a 13-foot-high, 180-foot-long, 47-ton wind turbine blade constructed in the Czech Republic.

Elsewhere, Mr. Burns noted another set of turbine components built in Vietnam.

“This was made in Vietnam. You have stuff made in China,” he said. “Why can’t it be made here?”

Frederick S. Morrill, a county legislator and the authority’s deputy executive director, argued that the project brought economic benefits nonetheless.

“Last winter, the port had 27 or 28 employees on site, but right now we have over 120 working,” he said. “Big projects like this bring money and activity to the area, but our other big goal is perpetual business.”

Mr. Morrill said the authority was working to bring in long-term clients while seeking further wind projects.

Later on the tour, the group watched a 70-ton tower piece lifted from a ship, the Sloman Dispatcher, onto a truck waiting at the port. Two giant cranes gently lowered the piece onto the trailer, where it was cradled and lashed down by longshoremen.

“We couldn’t do it without our longshoremen,” said Mr. Davis. “They make it look easy.”

Mr. Davis said the piece was one of 15 for each turbine with a project total of 70 turbines.

“You guys should be in here when a blade train comes in,” he said “They are over a mile long and come in from Colorado.”

Elsewhere, trucks from Lone Star Transportation of Fort Worth, Texas, were staging for the morning shipment of turbine components to the Marble River Wind Farm in Churubusco.

“This is something else,” said Mr. Ford. “Everyone should have an opportunity to look at this.

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