A 52 MW wind development proposal for northeast Vermont received a non-binding boost of confidence when the town of Sheffield voted 120-93 in favour of the Sheffield Wind Farm last month. Voter turnout -- roughly half of those registered -- was greater than for the last presidential election. "We're glad to see the support of the town," says Steve Vavrick of UPC Wind Management. "Now we're at the point of filing for the state permit we'll need for building and operating the facility. That will initiate a public hearing process, which takes 12 to 18 months. If all goes well, construction will start in 2007 and, optimistically, we'll be online by the end of the year." The project calls for 26 turbines -- 20 in Sheffield and six in nearby Sutton. UPC has not selected a turbine supplier, although it says Gamesa is a likely choice. Initial work on the project began in 2002. At present, Vermont has 6 MW of installed wind power. "We've been collecting data for more than two years now," adds Vavrick. "New England has strong power markets and a strong wind resource but there's also a challenging permitting process."
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