The History of Power is the History of the Steel Yard

Did you know? If you trace the history of power in America, it is reflected in every stage of the evolution of the industrial arts complex we know as The Steel Yard in Providence.

From its 1822 origins as the site of Builders Iron Foundry, the site generated its own power for its forges and machinery on-site with large boilers. A common solution to the huge energy needs, it also used fossil fuels such as coal and oil and all the associated impacts.

At the dawn of the 20thcentury when electricity was a new technology, Narragansett Electric Lighitng Company used the Complex as its one of the very first locations to receive its innovative centralized, off-site electrical generation. The building was one of the first industrial buildings to be designed to incorporate electric lighting and industrial. An influential meeting of the Franklin Institute in 1900 extolled the excitement around the benefits of electricity, including cost savings in power and equipment, cleanliness, health of employees, reliability, and increase of output. 

Fast forwarding to today, the Superstudio renovations havecompletely upgraded the original electrical system with new power, high-efficiency LED lighting, and new heating systems that are 100% electric, anticipating the transition to renewable sources in order to drastically reduce its carbon footprint.

And on that note and newly announced, the next phase for the Steel Yard addresses carbon reduction and resiliency head-on. KITE and Newport Renewables designed a 50kW solar array which will continue this tradition of power innovation, and generate enough power to meet over 50% of the Steel Yard’s needs. 

This forthcoming solar project follows recent improvements made to the facility that reinforce The Steel Yard’s commitment to a climate prepared neighborhood – and global community –  that is ready to meet the challenges of the future.