A Hummel Report Investigation
We conclude our two-part series this week with a closer look at the North Kingstown man who founded Wind Energy Development in 2009. Mark DePasquale is putting up 10 turbines in western Coventry. For those who ask about the effects of living near a turbine, Depasquale invites them to his own house - where a 414-footer resides in his yard.
Click here to watch part-one of this series.
It has a been a fixture on the Portsmouth horizon since 2009. At 360-feet tall, with blades that weigh 9 tons each, this wind turbine was supposed to be the town’s answer to rising electricity costs.
All of that changed four years ago.
DePasquale: ``Because of what happened in Portsmouth I had to make the state of Rhode Island very comfortable.’’
Mark DePasquale says Portsmouth showed the rest of the state how not to do a wind energy project. The town bought into faulty technology, which broke in 2012, leaving taxpayers with nearly one and a half million dollars still left to pay on equipment that was producing no revenue. The icing on the cake: the company that manufactured it went out of business.
DePasquale: ``It’s our poster child, it just sits there broken. And I drive by and it bothers me, inside my heart, it bothers me.’’
Enter DePasquale, who founded Wind Energy Development in 2009 and last week presided over the dismantling of turbine.
DePasquale is so confident in wind energy he is paying off the town’s debt and putting up another turbine - on the same site, but with a new foundation and new technology. He’ll own it and sell electricity to the town. He expects it to come on line by late June.
DePasquale is also putting up 10 turbines in western Coventry - three will be owned by the Town of West Warwick, which is paying $6 million per turbine, with the expectation of saving $40 million in power over 25 years.
Depasquale says there are no government subsidies or tax breaks for the West Warwick project - just the assurance that the town’s electricity rates will be stable for the next two plus decades because it will be producing its own power.
DePasquale: ``I think you’re going to see a lot of communities growing for this. I really think once the project’s up it’s going to be a model project’