Green Mountain Power Files for Wind Measurement Towers in Lowell
COLCHESTER, VT -- (Marketwire) -- 08/10/2009 -- Green Mountain Power is taking an important step in its exploration of wind power in Lowell, Vermont, by filing with the Vermont Public Service Board for a permit to measure the wind resource on a portion of the Lowell Mountain range. Known as Kingdom Community Wind, the project would be owned by Green Mountain Power and would provide electricity to customers of Green Mountain Power and Vermont Electric Cooperative.
"We have spent months determining whether building a wind plant in Lowell will help us provide power to our customers, and hopefully Vermont Electric Cooperative customers, that is low cost, low carbon and reliable. After meeting with local communities and researching environmental considerations, we are ready to move forward with gathering additional information about the quality of wind in the area," said Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power.
Meteorological stations are proposed at three separate locations in order to get sufficient wind data to analyze the feasibility of the site. Although measurement towers were installed in 2003, additional wind data will make it possible to analyze the economics of installing wind turbines at the site. Two of the measurement station towers will be over 200 feet tall and will therefore require FAA approved lights for airline safety. The towers will be located on land owned by Moose Mountain Forestry, a local timber harvesting landowner, and Wind Blown Energy.
In January, the Lowell Selectboard expressed support for the installation of the wind measurement towers, saying, "Your project sounds exciting and important for Vermont's energy future, and could potentially offer many benefits to our community."
The Lowell mountain site could potentially produce as much as 50 megawatts of electricity with the installation of approximately twenty 2.5-megawatt turbines. Wind speed data obtained through the wind resource measurement program will help inform the number and size of the wind turbines that would operate most efficiently on the site. The ultimate number of turbines installed will depend on a combination of wind quality and environmental considerations. The site could potentially provide enough locally-generated, carbon-free renewable electricity to meet the annual needs of up to 20,000 average Vermont households.
Green Mountain Power recently signed an easement agreement with Moose Mountain Forestry of Lowell. If the Company proceeds, Green Mountain Power would own and operate the generating plant to provide power for its customers and it would sell a portion of the electricity to the Vermont Electric Cooperative.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with Green Mountain Power on this project as our members have expressed interest in local renewable generation," said David Hallquist, chief executive officer of the Vermont Electric Cooperative. "Green Mountain Power has years of experience owning and operating the Searsburg Wind Power facility, which gives our members additional confidence in the project," he added.
Trip Wileman, owner of Moose Mountain Forestry and the property, is pleased with the direction the project is taking. He said, "It is time for me to go back to logging and forestry management and leave wind farm development to the utilities. Not only are they better able to develop a project of this caliber, but owning the generation facility also enables them to get the best deal possible for their customers."
Utility ownership of renewable generation offers the advantage of more stable pricing at lower costs than what the utility would purchase if owned by other investors. "Part of the appeal of this project is that having Vermont owners will give us the opportunity to deliver cost effective renewable energy to Vermonters for generations to come," said Ms. Powell.
Green Mountain Power and VEC officials have been and will continue to be meeting with local residents and town officials to make sure the community understands all aspects of the project. Information is available at the project's website, www.kingdomcommunitywind.com.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) transmits, distributes
and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of
Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont's
population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.