Wind Cargo heading West - from Denmark to North Dakota - via Port of Duluth

Friday, September 9, 2011

Duluth, Minn., USA - The BBC Jade arrived in the Port of Duluth early Thursday morning,   to begin discharging nearly 4,000 freight tons of wind turbine components destined for Minnesota Power's Bison 1 Wind Energy Center in North Dakota. On board the ship are 15 direct drive nacelles, 15 power units and nearly 30 containers that are integral components for Phase B of the 82-megawatt Bison 1 project currently under construction near New Salem, N.D.

The wind turbine components (which left the Port of Aarhus, Denmark, two weeks ago), plus  hubs for each unit scheduled to arrive on a second ship in early November, will be securely stored at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's Clure Public Marine Terminal until needed at the project site. Specialized trucks will be dispatched throughout the fall to transport the heavy equipment to North Dakota. Initial shipments of wind components for this same project moved through the Duluth port in August 2010. Wind turbine blades for Bison 1 were fabricated in a Siemens Energy facility in Fort Madison, Iowa, and trucked to the construction site. Towers for the wind turbines were built in West Fargo, N.D.

"Earlier this summer, the Port of Duluth passed the one million mark in number of freight tons of wind components handled to date," noted Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "We are especially pleased to be handling these two shipments for Minnesota Power, a company headquartered here in Duluth and committed to serving Minnesota."

"Through the years, we've developed long-standing relationships with manufacturers and suppliers in Europe and North America," added Ojard. "And our terminal operator - Lake Superior Warehousing Company - has earned a stellar reputation for handling dimensional cargoes; we were just ranked the top port in North America for overall service by the Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA)."  

"As one of the world's largest wind turbine providers, efficient transportation is critical to our operations," said Sally Chope, transportation & logistics manager for Siemens Energy's wind power business. "The Port of Duluth offers us convenience, easy clearance for our shipments and Lake Superior Warehousing provides excellent handling of our cargo.  As the supplier of the wind  turbines, we are delighted to see the continuing expansion at Minnesota Power's Bison project, providing clean energy to their customers throughout the region."

To date, Minnesota Power has installed 16 wind turbines at the Bison 1 site. Earlier this year, the company announced the expansion of its wind development efforts with two additional wind projects, totaling 210 megawatts and 70 turbines. Bison 2 and 3 are scheduled to go online in 2012.  This investment of more than $300 million will help move the company closer to meeting Minnesota's 25 percent Renewable Energy Standard by 2025 in a timely and cost effective manner. The company already owns a 465-mile high voltage transmission line that is being used to move renewable energy eastward to its Arrowhead Substation near Duluth.  

"By leveraging a global turbine market, a federal production tax credit and existing infrastructure at the site to develop Bison 2 and Bison 3, we are delivering a low cost electric energy resource and providing greater value for our customers," said Minnesota Power Chief Operating Officer, Brad Oachs. "Developing cost effective renewable energy supports the industries we serve to be competitive in the global marketplace," he added. "The Port of Duluth provides access to the world, which expands our business options, benefiting all of us locally and regionally." 

Most wind turbine components shipped through the Port of Duluth since 2005 have been inbound from suppliers in Germany, Denmark and Spain for delivery to major projects in the Upper Midwest. The Port has also served wind farm projects as far away as Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Ontario, plus handled outbound shipments of blades manufactured in North Dakota to Spain, Brazil and Chile.

"We have an exceptional intermodal facility here in Duluth, said Jonathan Lamb, vice president and general manager at Lake Superior Warehousing Co., Inc. "We sit at the intersection of three major highway corridors and are served by four Class I railroads (BNSF, CN, CP and UP), so we can provide customers multiple options for direct transfer of project cargo from ship to truck or ship to rail as well as loading out from satellite laydown yards." 

"Because of our strategic location and the experience of our workforce," added Ojard, the Port of Duluth remains a vital link in the global wind energy supply chain." 


* The BBC Jade is a 469-foot, Antigua & Barbuda-flag vessel.



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