By Norwalk Seaport Association
Norwalk, CT - Thanks to the generous support of NRG Energy, Inc., the Norwalk Seaport Association will light the 143-year old Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the first time in over 100 years. A commissioning ceremony will be held on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 2:00pm to light the tower light, as well as to turn on the newly refurbished electrical system on Sheffield Island.
Staff from NRG’s Norwalk Harbor Station, Devon Station and CT Jet sites have worked closely with the Norwalk Seaport Association for the last two years, donating their time and expertise to rebuild the island’s electrical system. NRG also donated and installed a safe, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly solar photovoltaic (PV) generating system to power the island in place of the former gasoline-powered generators. The island’s old and obsolete lighting system was also replaced with low-energy lighting, and solar-powered walkway lighting was added for safety and accessibility.
A highlight of the project was the installation of a United States Coast Guard approved low-energy light in the Lighthouse tower. While the white light will not be used as an aid to navigation, it will be visible intermittently from the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound.
Norwalk Seaport Association President Tom Shrum says the project would never have happened without NRG. “We’re grateful to NRG for their generosity and the great work they’ve done. We have improved the lighting, accessibility and enjoyment of the island for our visitors, and it’s been done in an environmentally friendly way. The tower light is not only a symbol of a great partnership, but will be a welcoming beacon to our visitors and a reminder of the history and significance of the lighthouse.”
According to Les Ross, NRG’s Western Connecticut Plant Manager, “This project really captures what NRG is all about, so we were thrilled at the opportunity to play the central role. Our company and our people were able to contribute to a project that combines solar power, energy conservation, community support and historical preservation all at once.”
Activated in 1868, the Sheffield Island Lighthouse was in service for 34 years until its retirement in 1902. Today the lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained, along with the island, as a museum and nature preserve by Norwalk Seaport Association volunteers.