United States

United States

NEW ENGLAND CONSTRUCTION HITCH

Construction of a wind farm on Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine has been postponed because of anchoring problems caused by the oncoming winter. Mt Redington is also likely to get a wind farm shortly as well as the Boundary Mountains of Maine.

Construction on New England's largest wind farm in the American northeast started but was quickly halted -- until after the winter -- after problems were encountered laying foundations in the rocky mountainside. The three Vestas 225 kW turbines were to be on line in early November, on Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine. Endless Energy Corp of New Gloucester, Maine and Zond Systems Inc of California are partners in the venture.

Zond was unable to start construction until mid September, according to Endless Energy. Crews then encountered problems in anchoring foundations. Thousands of tons of concrete would have to have been transported up the mountainside, too risky with the oncoming winter. Construction is to start again as soon as the roads are passable in the spring, says Endless Energy Corp president Harley Lee.

The wind farm will now miss the seasonable combination of high winter winds and high demand in the area, where there is a ski resort. The turbines were disassembled on a Zond wind farm in northern California and transported to Maine. The wind farm is to be a laboratory for harsh winter conditions, with icing and access problems. Central Maine Power has agreed to buy up to $3 million in wind power annually from the partnership for 20 years.

Endless Energy is also preparing a permit application for a larger project on nearby Mt Redington, three miles southwest. Construction on that could begin as early as the summer, the firm says. Other smaller wind farms in New England are in Princeton, Massachusetts and Manchester, Vermont. Kenetech is also planning to install 20 MW in 1996 -- a total of 66 Model 33M-VS units -- in the Boundary Mountains of Maine. Power would be sold to Central Maine Power. There is an option for additional capacity by 1999.

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