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Cianbro CEO stoked about green power

MOSCOW – Cianbro Corp. CEO Peter Vigue says he’s all about producing green power – renewable energy.

The purchase of the former U.S. government radar site in Moscow with two other investors will not mean importing out-of-state waste to produce electricity or any other energy-generating practice that would harm the environment, he said.

“We are very, very sensitive to the environment. I’ve assured the community and the town fathers of that as well,” Vigue said. “We’re looking at not just wind power, but other sources of energy that would be developed on site.

“We have not considered nor are we interested in burning trash on that site. It would be renewable energy. It could be wind, it could be other things; but be assured, it’s not anything that would contaminate the environment or impact the environment in a negative way.”

Chris Wright, of Solon, a member of a group that successfully fought the trucking of construction and demolition debris from Massachusetts to a proposed incinerator in Athens in 2007, said he feared the same thing was about to happen in Moscow.

Wright, who said he supports wind power, said the Moscow site is isolated; but he worries that pollution could be carried on the wind if the site were to be used for a trash-to-energy facility. He said he would like the partnership developing the site to be more forthcoming with specific plans for energy generation.

Renewable energy comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, which are replenished naturally.

Cianbro, of Pittsfield, along with Massachusetts investors Conroy Development Corp. and Jay Cashman Inc., announced last week the partnership will buy the site that was used as a Air Force backscatter radar station.

The site includes about 1,300 acres and 30,000 square feet of “high quality” building space built by the federal government in the 1970s. Vigue said the project is a joint venture among the three parties.

The U.S. government’s General Services Administration sold the property for $730,000 in December to Western Maine Realty, a real estate firm owned by Jay Cashman Inc., a company that has developed wind power stations successfully elsewhere in Maine.

Wind power projects owned by Cashman are in place at Beaver Ridge in Freedom and Spruce Mountain in Woodstock, where Cianbro was the contractor. Two other projects, Saddleback Ridge in Carthage and Canton Mountain in Canton are in development, according to Andy Novey, senior project developer for Patriot Renewables, also a Jay Cashman company.

“We are currently evaluating the wind resource on the site to test the wind with (meteorological) towers, ” Novey said. “So in the immediate future, we are looking at wind power; and for the long term future, we think there are some neat opportunities for the site.”

Novey said the Moscow location is between two hydroelectric power stations – Wyman Dam on the Kennebec River in Moscow and Harris Station, at the headwaters of the river.

He said those sites are a potential for the future as already existing renewable energy generating locations.

Besides the three buildings on the site, there is a power substation and transmission lines, Vigue said.

He said he hopes the buildings and the likelihood of cheaper electricity bills for future tenants will lure other businesses to the Moscow site.

He said the group already has been in discussion with companies that want to move there.

“There are opportunities for the buildings on site that are potentially attractive to certain types of businesses,” Vigue said in a Cianbro news release last week. “There is isolation, which means good security. There is also a good supply of electricity which would be readily available for firms that require plenty of energy – to run large servers, for example.”