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Test Wind Turbine Installed Along San Diego Bay

Contact: Ronald W. Powell (619) 400-4789, (619) 665-2815; Barbara Moreno (619) 686-6216 on .

The Port of San Diego has become the testing ground for an alternative energy research project.The Port of San Diego has become the testing ground for an alternative energy research project.

As part of San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E) efforts to bring new forward-thinking renewable energy technologies to the region, a 30-foot-tall vertical axis wind turbine has been installed on Harbor Island at Harbor Island Park, one of 17 public parks managed by the Port District.

"The Port of San Diego is excited and proud to assist in this green energy research project," said Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Scott Peters. "The project is in line with the goals of our Green Port Program. Over the next year, we will work with SDG&E to assess the efficiency of this newly designed turbine in an area with light wind. It will also help us determine the economics of such a unit in an urban setting."

The turbine was installed during the week of December 21 and is located on Harbor Island Drive, between the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina and Hilton Harbor Island Hotel, across from Marina Cortez.

The turbine is manufactured in Japan by Enepro. The Harbor Island turbine represents the first trial of an Enepro vertical axis wind turbine in the United States. The field test will be in operation for about one year.

The wind turbine research project is a collaboration between SDG&E, Nakao International Consulting & Enterprises (Nakao), the Port of San Diego and the City of San Diego to research the feasibility of vertical axis wind turbines to produce green energy for the San Diego region. The cost of the turbine is being shared between SDG&E and Nakao. The cost includes the installation, instrumentation, maintenance, testing, analysis, reporting and removal at the end of the project

The Port's participation is in keeping with its Green Port Program. The Port of San Diego, through its Green Port Program, promotes the conservation of resources, the reduction of waste and the prevention of pollution.

The vertical-axis turbine is approximately eight feet in diameter and is housed atop a 30-foot-tall base. The sound from the turbine will be less than a whisper -- about five decibels.

It takes up about 450-square-feet of the park space. It should be operating by mid-January.

The turbine is expected to produce a peak power output of two kilowatts of electricity, which will be used to power a nearby City of San Diego sewage pump station. The exact power output at anytime depends on the speed of the wind available. The energy produced is a function of the turbine's performance over time in varying wind speeds.

"Harbor Island Park was chosen due to the regularity at which winds from the San Diego Harbor blow through there, and its visibility to the public to solicit feedback on the turbine," said Jenner Smith, Port of San Diego real estate asset manager. "In the coming months we will be developing a way for the public to provide that feedback directly to us."

Many of these turbines have been installed throughout Japan and because of their unique vertical structure, there have been no reported problems, like the ones that occur with horizontal axis turbines, such as injuries to bird populations, according Nakao International Consulting & Enterprises

The Port's Green Port Program, which was started in 2008, is designed to put the Port District's environmental goals into practice. Since its inception, the Port of San Diego has received more than $4.2 million in grant funding, which has helped pay for the installation of equipment to power docked cruise ships by an electrical source, and to provide financial assistance for truck operators to install special diesel-emissions filters or replace older model vehicles.

The Port of San Diego was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested $1.7 billion in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.

The Port District oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.