The Princeton Municipal Light Department has successfully cleared another hurdle on its long road to completion, securing financing.
The light department is in the process of constructing two 1.5 megawatt wind turbines on Mount Wachusett that are expected to produce up to 40 percent of the town’s power.
The two turbines will replace eight smaller turbines that were de-commissioned and removed from the site in 2004 after 20 years of use.
Massachusetts Municipal Light Department Wind Energy Cooperative negotiated the financing arrangements on behalf of the light department with PeoplesBank in Holyoke.
“This is a major step forward,” said David Tuohey, corporate communications manager for Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. “Having the financing in place enables the project to go forward.”
The wind cooperative was established in August by MMWEC and PMLD, to assist municipal light departments interested in developing wind power projects.
Currently, only MMWEC and PMLD are members of the cooperative, although the Templeton Municipal Light and Water Plant has voted to join, to advance its plans for a 1.5-megawatt turbine at Narragansett Regional High School.
Jonathan V. Fitch, manager of PMLD, said the amount financed was nearly $7 million, including a $1.5 million down payment for the turbines and reimbursement of $400,000 for site preparation costs.
“Now that the down payment’s been made, the price has been fixed, and I have an estimated delivery date of April 2009,” Mr. Fitch said. “We’re going to take our time to construct the site properly, and once it’s constructed it will remain untouched until delivery.”
Site construction includes construction of the foundation, conduits and the access road.
The April 2009 date is significantly later than the summer 2008 date Mr. Fitch originally expected. “But unless they can back up the delivery date by four or five months, I don’t want it early, since we can’t install it in the winter months.”
Mr. Fitch said that that once the turbines are delivered, the installation should be completed quickly and the wind farm could be functioning as early as May 2009.
By Sandy Meindersma
12 December 2007
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