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Lowell wind: last turbine section rolls through Orleans County  

Credit:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer | The Caledonian Record | caledonianrecord.com 18 September 2012 ~~

The last wind turbine component destined for the Lowell ridgeline rolled through Orleans County Monday afternoon.

The turbine tower section that had been damaged in a roll-over accident in July and was sent for repairs returned and made it to Lowell in a truck shipment by 4 p.m., Green Mountain Power official Dorothy Schnure said.

The Vestas tower section had been shipped from the manufacturer to a rail yard in Quebec and then by truck to the port of entry in Derby Line.

Then it rolled with police escort down Interstate 91 to the Orleans exit, to Route 58 through Irasburg and then over Lowell Mountain to the Route 100 staging area for the Lowell wind project.

GMP had already completed the shipment of the last of the smaller components by a northern route from northwestern Vermont to Lowell, Schnure said.

And all the other shipments of tower sections and blades from the rail yard in Island Pond to Lowell were completed earlier this month. Schnure said Monday’s shipment will be the last unless materials must be replaced during the final construction at the wind project.

The state utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board approved the route for the repaired tower section after GMP said it would cut a week off the time it would take to ship the section to Island Pond’s rail yard.

Derby’s road commissioner and Vermont Agency of Transportation approved the use of I-91 for the last shipment, GMP told the board.

GMP had to survey the route before it was approved. GMP could face sanctions for using another route earlier this summer for delivery of other parts because it did not give towns enough time to survey the route before using it.

The turbine section that came through Monday was damaged in an accident on I-91 southbound in July, just north of the Orleans exit near where paving crews were operating.

The state police did not say what the cause of the accident was, but did not assign blame to the driver or speed at the time of the accident. The effort to load the turbine section on another truck shut down I-91 southbound for hours, sending traffic through downtown Newport City and causing local traffic jams.

A final report on the cause is due out.

The turbine section will allow GMP to erect its 21st and final turbine on the Lowell ridgeline. Ten are already constructed and being prepped for operations. Another 10 are partially erected.

Some are already lit. GMP is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a radar-initiated warning light system that would allow the turbines to stay dark until a plane flies nearby. That was requested by the Green Mountain Club to maintain the dark night skies treasured by mountain hiking enthusiasts here.

One turbine has already been turned on and generating power for testing.

Others will be online soon.

Source:  Robin Smith, Staff Writer | The Caledonian Record | caledonianrecord.com 18 September 2012

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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