Turbine moves a part of CN’s growing green businesses
CN is playing a key role in the transportation of huge wind turbine components to northeastern British Columbia.
CN and CN Specialized Services (CNSS) recently completed the first-ever rail move of twin-pack wind turbine blades from German manufacturer Enercon GmbH and Salco Energy Services Inc. of Calgary. Enercon is a leading global manufacturer of wind turbine systems, and Salco Energy is an experienced wind turbine transport and wind park logistics management company in Canada.
The 51 sets of twin-pack blades are being installed in the 102 MW Bear Mountain Wind Park in Dawson Creek, BC When completed the Bear Mountain installation will have 34 Enercon E-82 3.0 MW wind turbines that will generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power most of BC’s South Peace Region. The project is on schedule to become BC’s first fully operational wind park by the end of 2009.
The wind turbine blades, which are 135 feet (41 meters) in length, were transported by sea aboard three vessels from the Port of Emden, Germany, with the first ship arriving at the Port of Thunder Bay, Ont., in early May 2009. CNSS, which arranged for rail car modifications for the move, also coordinated the unloading of the blades from the vessel and the loading of the blades and support equipment onto rail cars.
A total of six trains were required to transport the equipment from Thunder Bay to Dawson Creek over CN’s network. At destination, CNSS provided services for unloading the equipment for transportation to the wind farm.
Dan Bingeman, CN assistant vice-president, said: “The logistics of moving the turbine components were a challenge, but that is what CN and CNSS do best. And we are well positioned to support this important emerging market on account of our extensive network reach, port connections on three coasts, expertise and complete transportation solutions.”
CN’s network serves the main wind farm regions of Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, and the US Midwest as well as multiple ports suitable for the importation of wind turbine components - Halifax, Saint John, NB, Quebec City, Thunder Bay, Duluth, Minn., Vancouver, Prince Rupert, BC, Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans.
CN has extensive experience transporting a wide range of structures, heavy equipment and specialized materials and is one of the largest carriers of over-sized loads in North America, moving more than 2,100 carloads of wind turbine components since 2005.
CN has the right equipment, dimensional loads experts, and long-standing relationships with regulatory and advisory agencies governing transportation.
CNSS provides expertise in handling all over-dimensional rail-moves on CN. Its resources include comprehensive project management, including transload facilities throughout Canada, and a one-price, one-invoice service for door-to-door transportation. CNSS provides transload truck-to-rail, rail-to-truck and assistance with vessel-to-rail or rail-to-vessel loading.
Wind turbine components are one of CN’s growing sustainable energy business segments, which include environmentally friendly wood pellets for energy generation, biodiesel and ethanol.
“CN, as a railway, can help address the challenge of climate change,” said Bruno Demers, director of marketing for CN. “Rail emits six times less greenhouse gases (GHG) than heavy trucks. Plus, rail consumes a fraction of the fuel to transport one ton of freight one kilometer. In fact, CN can move one ton of freight 197 kilometers on just one liter of fuel. Using less fuel means fewer GHG emissions. In addition, our new main-line locomotives produce approximately 40 per cent less nitrogen oxides than older locomotives and consume up to 20 per cent less fuel. Rail also relieves traffic congestion, improves mobility in urban areas, and can ease pressure to renew road infrastructure by taking goods off highways.”