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Ogdensburg wind turbine shipments pass halfway point

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OGDENSBURG — Around half of the ships bearing wind turbine parts to the Port of Ogdensburg during the 2012 shipping season have been unloaded, but the authority operating the facility already is planning for the future.

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Director of Operations Steven J. Lawrence confirmed that five ships have been unloaded.

“We have another one, the BBC Hawaii, which is currently being unloaded, and we expect another one later this evening,” he said at the Thursday meeting of the authority’s board of directors.

Mr. Lawrence said the vessels have been unloaded on schedule, but the components were delayed from leaving the port due to slowdowns at wind farms in Churubusco and in Lowell, Vt.

“We’ve already moved one whole vessel,” he said. “We’ve picked up some things over the past that we’re getting better on.”

The $340 million project this year follows a smaller shipment of wind turbine components that used the port in 2008.

Authority staff hope to secure a similar shipment in the next two years.

“If this project is going to end, then we want to find the next project,” said Frederick S. Morrill, the authority’s deputy director.

Authority Chairman Samuel J. LaMacchia said future projects would be unlikely unless energy credits from the Obama administration were extended by Congress.

“We’re looking for leadership at the national level to extend energy credits,” he said. “2013 is not going to be a good year for the wind sector.”

Mr. LaMacchia and John A. Rishe, authority director of commercial and industrial development, attended the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER expo in Atlanta, Ga., where experts expressed concern about the future of the industry should the tax credits expire.

“They were talking about layoffs,” said Mr. Rishe. “You could see the manufacturing business drop by 80 percent.”

If the energy credits are extended, however, activity at the Port of Ogdensburg could continue to increase. Mr. Rishe said he was in contact with the planners for the Cape Vincent Wind Project and another project in Vermont for 2014.

“We’re actually working with some big names in the industry,” he said. “We had roughly 20 meetings with potential customers at the show.”

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