The Port of Morrow is partnering with Omega Morgan to facilitate moving the largest windmill blades in Oregon to their permanent location at the Montague Wind Power Facility near Arlington. Infrastructure and easy access to Interstate 84 made the Port an ideal location.
“At 67 meters long, the length of the blades presents transportation challenges,” explains Erik Zander, director of sales for Omega Morgan. “We were looking for options where we could get the blades as close as possible by rail to the final location and then move them by truck to the site. We couldn’t clear them into the distribution center at Arlington due to size, but we could get clearance into Boardman and set up our staging area there.”
Produced by Vestas and shipped by rail through the Midwest, the components will be part of a wind power facility constructed by Avangrid Renewables. It will provide 560,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually for Apple Inc.’s data centers in Prineville, approximately 100 miles to the south.
This latest partnership is one piece of a larger picture. Omega Morgan and the Port of Morrow are part of the eight-member Columbia River High, Wide and Heavy Corridor Coalition. The proposed High, Wide and Heavy Corridor along the Columbia River would capitalize on existing multi-modal transportation methods by improving infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.
High, wide and heavy loads currently ship from overseas markets through Houston, Texas and are transported north to projects in the Midwest and Canada. Establishing a route through Columbia River ports would save shippers time and money with shorter transit times and reduced handling. A case study completed by Omega Morgan demonstrated a savings of 28 days and 6,208 miles using the Columbia River corridor. Vestas capitalized on the northwest transportation route by shipping sections for approximately 50 wind turbine towers for the Montague Wind Power Facility from Korea through Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland.
Investing in green energy is key to future growth as the State of Oregon continues its journey toward independence from fossil fuels. Building infrastructure to support development of green energy resources is also important. In December 2018, the Port of Morrow was awarded a $19.4 billion-dollar BUILD Grant to fund infrastructure improvements at marine terminals within the Port. The project extends new rail lines from the Union Pacific mainline to four terminals which will enable rail-to-barge access for shipments along the Columbia River.
“Our continued investment in rail infrastructure and storage capacity allows the Port to partner with companies like Omega Morgan on energy projects not only in our region, but in the Western U.S. and Canada,” says Ryan Neal, executive director for the Port of Morrow. “The BUILD Grant will create a unique opportunity for energy projects to unload at terminals with ocean-going vessel capacity and barge upriver to our terminals with the option to continue on rail or visa-versa for exports. As the focus on reducing carbon dioxide continues, utilizing barges on the river system will be a key component to decreasing the amount of emissions and congestion on our roadways.”