10-MW community wind farm in Vermont to be generating by December

A community wind farm in the towns of Milton and Georgia, Vt., that features local ownership, local financing, local jobs, and local power for the nearby community will be operational by December, the project developer said yesterday.

The 10 MW Georgia Mountain Community Wind Energy (GMCW) project consists of four 2.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbines and will produce an estimated 27 million kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power the equivalent of more than 4,200 average Vermont homes. The facility is being developed by the Harrison family, a family of local business leaders, and David Blittersdorf, a local and national leader in renewable energy business.

GMCW is sited on the Harrison family’s maple sugar operation lands. Electricity from the project will go to Burlington (Vt.) Electric Department (BED), the city of Burlington’s municipal utility, through a long-term, stably-priced power purchase agreement.

“We are thrilled to be moving this project forward,” said Jim Harrison. “We’ve been an employer in the community for the last three generations and feel strongly that local renewable generation is critical for our future.”

Commented Blittersdorf, “This is an exciting project. The wind is local, the energy will be used locally, the financing is local, and so much of the jobs benefits are local. This is a great example of a community wind power project.” GMCW has hired local Vermont expertise, including local project managers, contractors, landscape architects, archeologists, historic preservationists, financial advisors, legal, engineering, economists, loggers, foresters and environmental scientists. GMCW will use Goldwind wind turbines with American-made blades, towers and other US domestic content. It has received local financing from Merchants Bank.

“It’s nice to see the pairing of these two socially conscious Vermont business owners, collaborating to make an important renewable energy project happen here in Vermont,” said Project Manager and Vice President of Northeast Wind Martha Staskus.

Harrison, his wife Janet and their children Kevin and Kathy are life-long Vermonters and local business owners and operators of third-generation concrete businesses serving northwestern Vermont–Harrison Concrete Construction, Inc., and Harrison Redi-Mix Corp. In addition, the Harrison family has developed Georgia Mountain Maples, an agricultural maple sugaring operation co-existing with the wind turbines.

Blittersdorf is a life-long Vermonter and the CEO of AllEarth Renewables of Williston, Vt. He is founder of NRG Systems in Hinesburg, Vt, and served as CEO until 2004 and co-owner until 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in renewable energy and was Treasurer of the AWEA for 17 years.

More information on the project can be found at www.georgiamountainwind.com

Tom Gray, www.awea.org/blog/