Appropriately, new Vermont community wind energy project powers community event

Vermont’s Georgia Mountain Community Wind project went on line recently, just in time to help power (virtually, at least) the festivities at an annual New Year’s Eve “First Night” celebration that draws people from around the region.

The 10-MW, four-turbine project will meet approximately 8 percent of Burlington Electric Department’s (BED) energy demand through a long-term, stably priced contract.

The project is owned by two local business leaders and life-long Vermonters: renewable energy manufacturer and developer David Blittersdorf and Jim Harrison and his family. Blittersdorf’s involvement with the wind industry goes back decades. He founded wind measurement company NRG Systems, now owned and led by Jan Blittersdorf Blomstrann. Currently he is president and CEO at another of his ventures, solar tracker manufacturer AllEarth Renewables.

Another community slant to the project is that it is financed locally by Merchants Bank. Further, Lyndon, Vt.-based contractor J.A. McDonald performed the site construction, while local businesses around Chittenden and Franklin counties supplied materials and services for the project. Some of those businesses include Alpha Testing, Graybar, Milton Building Supply, Milton Rentals, Rene’s Gas and Deli, and the Apollo Diner, among many others.

“This project fits perfectly into BED’s sustainability goals,” said BED General Manager Barbara Grimes. “We are moving toward a 100 percent renewable power portfolio, and we like power close to home so that these dollars recirculate in the economy. Projects such as Georgia Community Wind are pro-environment and pro-economy.”

“It is incredibly exciting to have this project complete and powering the community,” said Blittersdorf.  “So much about this project features the best of local community wind, from where the energy will be used and where the workers came from, to the project’s local financing. Since growing up with a view of Grandpa’s Knob where Vermont’s first wind farm stood in the 1940s, I’ve wanted to see Vermonters return to our roots of greater self-reliance and stewardship for our future.”

The project was built among the Harrison Family’s maple sugar operation on Georgia Mountain in Milton and on land in Georgia owned by Green Crow Corp., a timber products firm with a local office in Waterbury.

“We’ve been an employer in the community and feel strongly that local renewable generation is critical for our future,” said Jim Harrison.  “This project and our sugaring operation fit right into Vermont’s proud tradition of self-reliance and a productive landscape.”

Harrison, his wife Janet and their children, 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 Corporation.

GMCW’s four 2.5-MW Goldwind wind turbines include American-made blades, towers and other domestic content.  GMCW hired local Vermont expertise, including project managers (Northeast Wind), contractors, landscape architects, archeologists, historic preservationists, financial advisors, legal, engineering, economists, loggers, foresters, and environmental scientists.


Related articles:
Paul Woodin Memorial Scholarship Fund honors Northwest visionary, November 15, 2012

Perseverance, logistics acumen make Alaska wind project reality, October 18, 2012

Alaskan native-owned wind farm nearing completion, July 3, 2012

Windustry honors Dan Juhl with community wind award, June 22, 2012

Paul Woodin receives Community Wind Innovator Award for 2012, June 12, 2012

10-MW community wind farm in Vermont to be generating by December, May 30, 2012

Alaska village wind project to save 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, May 29, 2012

In triumph for Maine high school students, wind turbine goes online, April 3, 2012

Free at last: High school students get final signoff to install 100-kW wind turbine, December 23, 2011

Awards honor leadership in community wind, November 8, 2011

By Carl Levesque,