Wind power is pushing Duluth port to a new age

Posted on November 25, 2008. Filed under: Wind |


For those who harbor doubts about windpower’s capacity to stimulate a depressed economy, read the excerpt below from a story by Larry Oakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.

Part of Duluth’s success is having land-based logistical support and cooperative state agencies, especially DOT. Can Minnesota’s success be replicated here …?

DULUTH — In 2005, a ship called the Bavaria arrived in Duluth-Superior from Europe with a visually stunning cargo the gritty taconite and coal port had never seen: gargantuan yet somehow slender blades, hubs and shafts meant for towering wind turbines.

Since then, America’s increasing embrace of wind power has brought the port a windfall, with shipments surging to make the head of the Great Lakes a major funnel for turbines destined for the Upper Midwest and parts of Canada. Jason Paulson, operations manager for Lake Superior Warehousing Co., which transfers turbines from ships to specially designed semitrailer truck caravans, said the port is on track to handle a record 2,000 windmill components this year for several manufacturers, most bound for wind farms in Montana, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Shipments of wind turbines through the port shot from 34,080 freight tons in 2005 to 307,000 freight tons last year.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported this year that transportation of wind turbines was the single largest factor in making fiscal year 2007 its most profitable.

“The growth is explosive,” Paulson said. “There were times this season when we were moving 12 windmills a day. It’s become the major portion of our heavy-lift business.”

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