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Hoosac Wind Project may be ready within year  

Credit:  By Scott Stafford, Berkshire Eagle Staff, www.berkshireeagle.com 23 December 2011 ~~

FLORIDA – Absent any further delays, the Hoosac Wind Project could be up and pumping nearly 30 megawatts of renewable electricity into the public grid within a year.

According to Paul Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola Renewables, owner of the wind project, construction started on roads and foundations in November and will continue through the winter as weather allows. The turbine parts are slated to arrive in June.

“The biggest thing people will see is the turbine parts when they start arriving,” he said.

The project, now estimated at $100 million, includes nine turbines on Crum Hill in Monroe and 10 turbines on Bakke Mountain in Florida. The project is estimated to have enough capacity to power more than 22,500 homes.

Copleman noted that erection of the turbines won’t take very long, but the testing and commissioning process is long and tedious and will eat up much of the latter part of 2012.

At the peak of construction, there will be about 125 workers at the project site.

The project had been delayed by litigation since 2004. During the six-year legal battle, the cost of the project soared past the former estimate of $45 million. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court cleared the way for work to begin in July 2010.

The legal tactics used by opponents of wind power that have delayed the Hoosac Wind project, which was approved of by Florida voters, has been cited by Gov. Deval Patrick as reason to propose the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act, which has fallen in the legislative process twice. The bill, which was designed to streamline the permitting process and enhance local control of wind projects, died in the Joint Committee on Telecom, Utilities and Energy last week.

NStar, the state’s second-largest utility, signed a power purchase agreement for electricity produced at the Hoosac Wind Project in August.

Payment in lieu of taxes agreements have already been approved by the developer and both communities, Copleman noted.

According to Christine Dobbert, town manager of Florida, the agreement is expected to generate between $250,000 and $300,000 yearly for the community’s general fund. Florida’s annual operating budget totals about $2 million.

The project includes two gravel access roads to the ridgelines that will house the turbines, one of which crosses 12 streams.

Source:  By Scott Stafford, Berkshire Eagle Staff, www.berkshireeagle.com 23 December 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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