Port of Vancouver Signs Wind Deals
Portland Business Journal, February 5, 2009
State and local efforts show promise as the 'green jobs' industry evolves
The Port of Vancouver USA on Thursday announced two deals to increase its wind turbine storage business, moves which could add 235 jobs to the southwest Washington port.
Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer that has a North American headquarters in Portland, has agreed to a three-year extension of its exclusive storage contract with the port. The port has handled the storage of Vestas turbine parts since 2000 and had an exclusive contract since 2006 to handle all of the company's cargo on the Columbia River.
The port also announced a tentative deal, reached Wednesday, on a two-year contract to handle wind energy cargo for Siemens Energy. The Siemens contract is subject to approval from the company's management, which is expected next week. Like the Vestas contract, the Siemens deal makes Vancouver the only Columbia River port to handle the company's cargo.
Both agreements include options for extending the contracts. Port officials Thursday morning did not detail the length of the options.
The port has turned the storage of wind energy components into a niche speciality. The amount of longshoreman hours logged handling wind energy components skyrocketed from 15,000 in 2006 to a record-high 72,000 in 2007. The figure dipped significantly last year to 25,000 hours as the industry slowed due to uncertainty over the fate of federal renewable energy tax credits.
The addition of Siemens and the extension of the Vestas contract is expected to increase longshoreman hours to 100,000 this year, said Larry Paulson, the port's executive director.
To handle the additional cargo, the port has ordered a second mobile harbor crane that is expected to arrive March 15. At 140 metric tons - the equivalent of two space shuttles - the cranes are the largest of their kind in North America, said Nancy Baker, president of the port commission.
"We believe your port is an economic stimulus package," Paulson said Thursday morning from the annual Port Re:Port event, where the new agreements were announced. "This port has a game plant to help anchor our community during this economic storm we're trying to weather."
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