Major wind power project underway in Somerset County

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

Part 1 of 2

If you’ve been on the road anywhere between Skowhegan, Madison, Solon and Bingham, on Route 201 over the past several months, you may have been held up in a rare traffic jam, as state and local police escorts, support vehicles and huge tractor-trailer trucks transported massive towers, motors, blades and other related wind tower equipment to the Bingham, Mayfield and Kingsbury areas of Johnson Mountain off from Route 16.

According to the SunEdison website, manufacturers advanced solar technology is installing solar power systems that are supposed to deliver cost effective electricity to residential, commercial, utility and government customers.

wind power project in Somerset County

Of the 56 towers planned for the area, 11 towers will be installed in Bingham. Photo by Dan Cassidy

Turbine deliveries began in the fall of 2015, and there are several towers already in place.  The operation was suspended for about eight weeks due to spring posted road conditions, however Reed & Reed accelerated delivery of a large percentage of the project’s turbines during the winter months that allowed assembly to continue into the spring.

Reed & Reed and a team of highly skilled subcontractors are erecting turbines in two areas, with 36 turbines located just north of Route 16 and 20 turbines to the south.  They are currently on schedule for an early completion by this fall.

SunEdison hits bump in the road

The project hasn’t been all that easy, as SunEdison, once a poster child of the clean energy boom ran into financial troubles earlier this year, caused by a mountain of debt taken on during better times, according to their website.

“The decision to file for bankruptcy was a difficult, but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison CEO said in a published statement.  The statement went on to say that SunEdison was flying high with shares trading above $33.  The collapse happened soon after. Earlier this spring, the shares were trading at about 34 cents.  Trading was halted shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

As far as the filing of bankruptcy protection affecting the Bingham project, the project has been financed and was acquired by Terra Nova Partners last year, according to SunEdison sources.  The bankruptcy should have no impact to the project whatsoever.

Choosing the Bingham region site

There were a lot of factors that went into the decision of erecting towers in the Bingham, Kingsbury and Mayfield area.  “We choose locations to build projects that require good wind speed in the area, access to transmission, limited number of residences or camps nearby, willing landowners, and local support,” said John Lamontagne, Senior Director of Communications at SunEdison, in an e-mail interview.  “All those factors were involved in this project, but especially the wind and the local support,” he said.

SunEdison is the head of the overall project, although they are working very closely with the owners of the project.  “Reed & Reed has been the general contractor on all the wind projects that SunEdison has built in Maine.  “They are a great partner with us.  That is their role at Bingham,” he said.

Tall towers

The towers are approximately 100 meters, (330 feet), and each will have three blades attached that are about 57 meters, approximately (188 feet).  In total, if a blade is standing straight up, the structure is about 157 meters, close to (515 feet).  The unit attached to the tower and what the blades are attached to is called the nacelle.  It is where the electricity is being generated.  The blade speed depends on the wind speed.  Collector lines are going to be installed and will be connected to a substation, which then sends the electricity via transmission lines, according to Lamontagne.

According to Lamontagne, there are three landowners that are involved in forestry where the project is taking place.  “Construction began on the project last year.  Clearing work was started, logging roads were widened, and collector cables were installed.  Towers didn’t start going up until March of this year.”

Lamontagne said that they plan to set up 56 turbines, each with a capacity of 3.3 MW.  “In total, the project is projected to power about 60,000 homes.  We expect the project to be online and operational by the end of the year.”

“The energy is being sold at a highly competitive price to customers, on par with natural gas,” Lamontagne said.  “Customers will have the benefit of clean energy at no additional cost on their electricity bills.”

(Continued next week)

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of June 30, 2016

Solon and Beyond

 

by Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
643-5805
grams29@tds.net
390 South Solon Rd.,
Solon, Maine 04979

 

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

The East Madison Historical Association  will be having a yard sale on Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Happyknits, LLC, will be celebrating its second birthday on Friday, July 1, and continuing the celebration on Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This year’s reunion day of Solon Alumni is on July 16 at the Solon Elementary School. 9:30 a.m., starts registration and coffee hour with the business hour starting at 10:30 a.m. The auction will follow the business hour. Please remember your auction item. Last year we made $628 on the auction. Then Murry Bubar sent a check to match the auction funds so we ended up with $1,256. Thank you Murry. Dianne Oliver Poulin was the auctioneer.

Lunch will begin at 1:00 p.m.,  and will be catered by the Solon 4-H Club.

The class of 1966 will celebrate its 50th reunion. Members are Linda Baiko Lomastro, Terry Cahill, Glenda Foss Atmandi, Alden Mayhew, Richard Poulin, Mark Rogers, Ellery Witham and Gary Withers. So class of 1966, we would like to see you here.

Sixty-two  alumni and guests attended last year. The class of ’65 celebrated  their 50th with four members, Ann French Jackson, David Heald, Robert Meader and George Dube. Brenda Padham was elected as the new treasurer. Kaitlyn LaCroix received a check from the scholarship fund $1,100. Deaths reported were Harold Tewskbury, class of 1942, Freda Chase Merry, 1945, Beverly Thompson Carter, 1947, Dassie Andrews Jackson ,1947, Jean Hilton Dickey, 1949, Joyce Bubar Dillon, 1953, Paul Savage, 1957, Anne Withers Burkhart, 1959, William Tolman, 1961, Walter Jones, 1969, Mark Myers, 1973, from Carrabec and Herbert Hayden. (The above is the letter sent out to alumni from Linda French, secretary)

In my continuing efforts of getting what I want to save out of my house on Ferry Street, I keep coming across old Dirigo year books. I have quite a few, and will take them to the reunion for anyone who might want one. The oldest is 1954 and had only two graduates, Patricia McCarty and Joseph V. Dore. In this year book there was a column written by Malon P. Whipple, 1903 entitled “A Look at the Future.” Very heartwarming and inspiring. On that same page is this, 1904-1954 written by Ivan M. Dyer, “On this, the 50th anniversary of the Solon High School graduating class of 1904, may I, the only surviving member of that class, have the honor of congratulating the class of 1954 in having reached one of the most important milestones in the making of American citizens. May you go on to greater accomplishments and may each and every one of you always be proud to say, ” I am an American.”

Was given the choice of writing two columns this week or taking a vacation next week, decided I should listen to those who care about me, and say, “You should slow down!” My column won’t be in the July 7 paper.

And, my heartfelt love goes out to all of you who say you love this column, it reminds me that my goal to bring love and sometimes humor, to all that read it each week, is working!

Percy’s memoir: “You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece. (words by Albert Enstein.)