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SHEFFIELD, VT - The Sheffield Wind Project is up and running - officially. The huge blades have actually been turning in the wind for a week now, but Wednesday politicians, dignitaries, representatives from Green Mountain Power and about 500 people were on hand for the official ribbon cutting ceremony and celebratory barbecue.
Some of those people, of course, included protesters who have been adamantly opposing the development of mountainous ridgeline wind farms for some time. They have argued that the turbines are inefficient, bad for the environment, and just plain ugly.
Paul Burns, of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), issued a statement calling wind power "not only good for our economy, but good for our environment, too." Burns said there is "tremendous support" in the state for wind power.
First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor said it's one of the most environmentally sound wind projects ever.
Among those present for the ceremony were Gov. Peter Shumlin; Josh Bagnato, Environmental Manager at First Wind, developer; Paul Gaynor, First Wind CEO; Rep. Tony Klein, Chair of the VT House Natural Resources Committee; Max Aldrech, Sheffield Select Board; Avram Patt, General Manager of Washington Electric Company, one of the companies that will be receiving power from the project; and Rich Zimmerman, Senior Project Manager at RMT, a construction and engineering firm.