Siemens (NYSE: SI) this week began using rail cars to ship wind turbine blades across the United States.
When the first train left Siemens Energy’s new rail yard at the Fort Madison blade factory earlier this week, the company said it signaled a more reliable, greener and cost-effective method of transporting blades across the U.S.
Moving 148-feet long, 12-ton blades on trucks on the nation’s roadways has always represented a logistical challenge since delivery routes must be carefully planned and approved to avoid urban rush hours, sharp curves, narrow lanes and weight-limited bridges. By utilizing America’s national rail network, Siemens said it has tapped into an existing infrastructure that will allow the company to move its blades more efficiently across the country.
The first 42 wind turbine blades are now headed to Portland General Electric’s (NYSE: POR) Biglow Canyon Wind Farm in Sherman County, Oregon, where they will be combined with nacelles and towers for installation. The turbine blades are expected to roll into Pasco, Washington, by the end of the week.
Siemens is supplying 141 units–each with three blades–of its 2.3-megawatt (MW) turbines for the Biglow Canyon Wind Farm Phases 2 and 3. Once completed, PGE’s 450-MW wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 100,000 households.
"This is the first time that Siemens is transporting wind turbine blades via rail to their destination," said Jan Kjaersgaard, CEO, Siemens Wind Power Americas. "Adding rail allows us to expand our transportation capacity and provides significant efficiency and environmental benefits compared to trucking for long-distance transports." In addition to blades, Siemens Energy is also transporting towers and nacelles via rail to various project locations throughout the U.S.
The Siemens Energy Sector is a leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power. In fiscal 2008 (ended September 30), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately EUR 22.6 billion and received new orders totaling approximately EUR 33.4 billion and posted a profit of EUR 1.4 billion. On September 30, 2008, the Energy Sector had a work force of approximately 83,500.