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Grandpa’s Knob project still in works

The developer of a proposed wind farm on Grandpa’s Knob said he is still actively pursing a project that would install about 20 turbines along the ridgeline.

Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power of Manchester, said Monday it is premature to give out definitive facts and information on the project.

“We are gathering data and performing due diligence,” Eisenberg said. “This is something we have been doing for a while and has been consistent with our plan.”

The proposed project would touch West Rutland, Castleton, Hubbardton and Pittsford. Grandpa’s Knob was the site of the first megawatt-scale wind turbine in 1941, though it was plagued by malfunctions and a wartime parts shortage.

Eisenberg said it was premature to have an estimated cost of the proposed project, as his company is still gathering and analyzing data. He did say they are still talking about putting up 15 to 20 turbines on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline with a total capacity of 40 to 50 megawatts while operating at about 30 percent of capacity.

“We are gathering information to determine the true viability of it,” Eisenberg said. “Personally, I am optimistic, but until we know the viability of the project, I need to speak in guarded words.”

Reunion Power, which also has an office in New Jersey, acquired the project after closing a deal with the previous developer, Noble Environmental Power, in late 2009 with the plans of moving forward with it. The company is continuing to use the original plans established by Noble.

“They did good work and we’ve picked it up from there,” he said.

Noble started meeting with local officials in early 2007, floating the idea of a wind project on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline, where they thought they could build the largest wind farm in the state. Financial problems beset the company in 2008 before it closed its Rutland office in January 2009.

Mary Ann Goulette, town manager in West Rutland, said she cannot comment of the project as she has not seen what the plans proposed bwy Reunion Power.

“The project has been scaled down a couple of times. I don’t know how many towers they are putting up,” she said. “We are definitely interested in seeing what happens.”