Monday, January 19, 2009

The Connecticut River, Works Through the Winter Serving Commercial Needs

Marino Crane of Middletown owns a parcel of land on River Road in Cromwell (just off of RT 99). This site on the CT river is used to off load commercial barge freight. This weekend, the site was in use day and night off-loading 3 barges worth of product to be used by Kleen Energy, in Middletown and in Waterbury. The product being shipped for the most part cannot be shipped long distances on the road. The load pictured on the truck is upwards of 100,000 lbs. Check out the axels in the larger image. The product when traveling on the road has special permits, and will move at 3mph.

Getting ready to stablize the barges, before off-loading one of the two Siemens.

To ready for off-loading workers have to onload balast to keep the barge on an even keel.
The Connecticut River has always been used to transport people and goods. The CT River Museum of Essex, and our own, Midddlesex County Historical Society has some wonderful old images of the river at work. Steam boats used to journey to Hartford in the Summer with vacationers from the city, and goods to deliever along the way. A watchful traveler, cannot miss what remains of the business of transporting oil products up the river for commecial and home heating needs. Twenty years ago, two or three times a week, year round an oil barge would be moving up river to make a delivery. Almost all of this product is now shipped by pipeline. The Coast Guard keeps the river open to commerical traffic in the winter, with a small ice cutting barge, that is why even with our very cold two weeks of tempetures the river is still open and the ice often looks to be in pieces. As long the Connecticut River remains a commercail navagiable body of water, walking across the river to Portland, will remain a sucide venture. Please don't try it!

This shot was taken at Cromwell Landing begining the journey of being piloted back to the Old Saybrook Point.

Taken from Harbor Park looking south.


Anonymous said...

These photos are great. I especially like the one of the Meagan Ann tug, the Siemen's turbine, the flag and the snow. The intellectual contrast of the girly tug name and the, well, male turbine's name , is just the beginning! The colors, blue "Siemen's", blue tug, red "Marino",red flag, the white, stopped falling snow, the tight composition, all combine for a really nice story-telling image. This helps bring human understanding to the physical scale of electrical power generators. On the simplest level, fuel comes in one side and electricity comes out the other, enabling me to read The Eye and comment. But the immensity of everything Kleen is a far cry from the wind on a lady cyclist's cheek!

When just one of those Siemen's turbines is whirring about under peak capacity, consuming 15,900 gallons of oil per hour, I wonder how much noise it makes? And how much electricity,how much heat to be recovered by the heat recovery stem generator, how much profit, how many birds detoured, etc.?? There are so many pieces in the Kleen puzzle!

Thanks very much for putting a pretty face on one piece with your lovely photos.

Barrie said...

PS. Furthermore,having forgotten to ask, how the heck do you get there from here on a bike in the snow?!

Beth said...

This article was meant to highlight the Connecticut River, and was by no means an endorsement of the Kleen Energy Project. I agree that there are many unknowns regarding Kleen Energy, and I am glad you ask them. Since this project is a done deal for Middletown, the answers lie in finding the will, and the resources to record and report on the very questions you ask. Time consuming, yes. Important to other towns, and cities, who may be forced to entertain a Kleen Energy enterprise, yes. What do you believe we can do, to find the answers to your warranted questions? How can I help? How can readers of the Eye help?

My bike was at home, though it would have been great fun to be on my bike. As you may know one cannot get from River Rd. Cromwell to River Road Middletown by bike, without something like a 10 mile detour. Just another project to add to the list, such that this tax paying cyclist can, as motorists do, travel the shortest (or closer to the shortest) distance between to points.

Barrie said...

The Connecticut River is definitely a highlight of life in Middletown. As it has done in the past and will continue to do in the future, the River shapes our lives with its primal presence. It is a vital resource and I believe its banks should be a publicly owned, accessible and preserved.

Kleen Energy is here, on the River, and will draw water from below its bed for cooling and eventually for providing potable water.

We should become conversant in “Kleen-ology.” Most of the engineering questions have actual numbers for answers and are available on line and at the offices of the Connecticut Siting Council and the Department of Environmental Protection. However, some numbers are not easy to interpret. Decibels, for example, are regulated and Kleen is permitted to emit a defined noise level but what will that sound like to me when I hike nearby? And are turtle's ears much like my own? For the greater good, the turtles and I will be required to live with it.

However, there are also many issues the realities of which are yet to be determined. For example , the required "detailed landscaping plan", the access to the 50 acres of reserve land (belongs to Kleen but will not be developed) and the promised bird-watching area near the collector wells, the minimization of the visual impact of the two 215 ft exhaust stacks, the immense oil storage tanks and the power house, and , undoubtedly much, much more. By becoming Kleen-ologists , citizens and public agencies like Wetlands, Conservation Commission, Design Review Board, P&Z and others can work together to help Kleen fulfills its goal to be a state-of-the-art, environmentally responsible provider of electrical energy and a good partner in Middletown's future economic development. Kleen will be generous, providing a new gauge station to collect data on the CT River and funding the existing station. These details and the amount of attention they receive will make a big difference in my final perception of Kleen Energy as a neighbor.

My intention has been to become knowledgeable about Kleen Energy, and to recruit others to help implement a shared vision of the best possible outcome for the project. Although a little naïve on account of the magnitude of the project and the amount of information to be assimilated, you can be sure that I have more knowledge today than when I began a few months ago. In this process, maybe because I am ahead or behind the curve, I am surprised to find myself a group of one. Your thoughtful feedback is encouraging.

I believe the next opportunity to become engaged in Kleen Energy’s ongoing construction activities and perhaps have an opportunity to meet some of the principles and other interested groups and individuals, will be at the upcoming Wetlands, P&Z and Common Council meetings. The Eye has been giving excellent advance notice of the agendas. I greatly regret having somehow missed Kleen’s appearance at the most recent Economic Development Commission meeting.

Thank you again, Beth, for the wonderful photos. To be able to walk and bike beside the Connecticut River remains a dream.