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Sheffield wind turbines down for maintenance, repairs

SHEFFIELD – Some of the 16 turbines at the First Wind project have been shut down since last week for regularly scheduled maintenance, said company spokesman John Lamontagne on Monday.

The work began last week, he said, and the company is “not sure how long it will take, but I think it’s safe to say a couple weeks. It may be more, may be less, depending on the amount of work needing to be done.”

A handful of area residents have reported to the Vermonters for a Clean Environment group in recent days that some of the turbines appeared to not be functioning, said Annette Smith, the executive director of the Danby-based group on Monday.

Smith, the head of VCE, said she has been receiving citizen reports for the past week, “noting that at least five of the western Sheffield turbines are off. Now apparently only one of the 16 are operating,” she stated in an email Monday. “Inquiring minds want to know what’s going on. Ironically, the neighbors of Lowell and Georgia Mountain are recording noise levels well above 45 dBA for the same period, so it’s not because there’s no wind.”

Lamontagne said, “Here’s what’s going on: We are conducting some repairs to site components (not the turbines themselves) and conducting annual major maintenance before winter. Everything gets checked and tested, bolts tightened, cleaned up and all that before winter.”

“As you know, the winter months are the times for the highest winds, so we conduct maintenance in the fall to ensure that they’re in good shape for the peak period in the winter,” explained Lamontagne.

He continued, “In the coming days, the turbines that are down now will come back on, and some others will be taken down for a few days for their maintenance work.”