First Lowell Wind Turbine Goes Up

LOWELL - Green Mountain Power has announced that the first turbine at the Kingdom Community Wind Project in Lowell has been erected. "We've made tremendous progress on the project the last couple of months and are eagerly anticipating the project's commissioning," said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. "The mild winter allowed us to ramp construction back up in early April and we've been steadily moving forward since then. Today marks an important milestone in our effort to develop this clean, renewable energy for Vermont."The initial turbine is the first of 21 Vestas V112 3.0-megawatt turbines to be erected on Lowell Mountain that will generate enough renewable electricity for more than 24,000 Vermont homes."Kingdom Community Wind will be a major component of our power supply mix moving forward," Powell said. "It will provide Vermonters with a clean, cost-effective and locally-produced source of power that aligns directly with Vermont's renewable energy objectives."GMP received Public Service Board approval to build the Kingdom Community Wind facility in June of 2011 and broke ground on the project in September.Despite support from Lowell residents, the project has come under attack by opponents of industrial wind who have staged protests on the mountain over the last year. Lowell residents voted 75 percent to approve the project at a 2010 town meeting, but protesters from neighboring towns, adjacent landowners, and students at Sterling College have made a cause out of fighting the project.According to GMP, "The project has employed more than 200 workers directly in construction, more than two-thirds from Vermont. Thirteen Vermont employers are actively engaged in building the wind project and over 100 Vermont-based firms and vendors have been involved in some aspect of Kingdom Community Wind."Kingdom Community Wind will be GMP's second wind farm. The company built a six-megawatt wind farm in Searsburg, Vt., in 1997, which continues to generate cost-effective energy for GMP customers, GMP reported.GMP expects construction of the project to be operational by the end of 2012.