State Barriers Impede Wind Unit Movement

Oversized, Overweight Components Face Conflicting Permitting Policies, Procedures

As specialized motor carriers move ever-growing volumes of oversized and overweight wind energy components, vast differences in state permitting policies and procedures are routinely presenting figurative roadblocks.
“It’s just a jigsaw puzzle of rules and regulations and permits,” said Steven Todd, vice president of transportation at the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association. “There’s an utter lack of harmonization of policies and procedures. It’s literally like dealing with 50 different countries.”
The trade group, known as SC&RA for short, is advancing a permit harmonization initiative in hopes of adoption by all states of standard procedures for permitting, allowable hours for transport, pilot car requirements and other critical aspects of trucking the uber-big units.
“Right now, it’s inefficient and we’re wasting lots of money,” added Todd, who said wind cargo loads routinely are held up for hours and even days at state lines. He said transport costs can rise by as much as 80 percent because of having to adapt to policy differences or, even more problematically, routing loads around so-called “barrier states.”
Several Northeast states, including Rhode Island, pose the greatest challenges, according to Todd.
“We view them,” he said, “as basically putting up signs saying ‘Do Not Enter’ for permit loads.”
The logistics of moving U.S. wind projects is covered in Breakbulk magazine Issue 5, to be distributed Wednesday, Sept. 18. U.S. wind and renewables will also be a panel topic at Breakbulk Americas, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, Oct. 8-10.
Photo: A map depicts in red the numerous states posing permit-related barriers to efficient truck moves of oversized wind energy components. / Credit: Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association