Wind turbine tower passes through Oxford Hills

WEST PARIS — A 240-foot wind turbine tower headed north on Route 26 recently was the third of 22 headed to the Record Hill wind project in Roxbury.

Leslie H. Dixon/Sun Journal

Traffic on Route 26 in West Paris is stopped to allow a 180,000-pound wind turbine tower to enter from Route 219. The tower is one of 22 recently hauled from Searsport to Roxbury for the Record Hill wind farm.

Leslie H. Dixon/Sun Journal

A 240-foot wind turbine tower being hauled from Searsport to Roxbury is maneuvered from Route 219 to Route 26 in West Paris recently. It's one of 22 for the Record Hill wind farm, which is expected to be in operation by the end of the year.

“It's very impressive,” said Angus King, one of the developers of the project. The towers, bases and blades are now being transported as they arrive by ship in Searsport, just northeast of Belfast on the Midcoast.

The wind farm is expected to produce 122 million kilowatt hours per year, which owners say equates to the electricity needs of every household in Oxford County. The project was approved by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2009 and is expected to be producing green energy by the end of the year.

Former Gov. King, who founded Independence Wind with Robert Gardiner, the former director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said the foundations have been laid and the turbine bases are now being put up before the first of the turbines are erected.

“I went up to Searsport to see them unloaded,” King said Friday. The turbines were constructed in Denmark. They are put on large flatbeds with hydraulic lifts that allow the transport vehicle to maneuver safely over roads and bridges.

King said Independence Wind contracted with an engineering firm to develop the route.

The equipment is being shipped about every other day as they arrive in Searsport, project manager Mike Novello said. The Searsport harbor is considered the primary port in Penobscot Bay and has two piers for unloading freighters.

Once the wind turbine parts are loaded onto trucks, Maine State Police escort the trucks. At times roads have to be shut down for short periods. For example, as a truck with a tower was making the turn from Route 219 to Route 26 in West Paris, traffic was stopped for about five minutes.

The 18-axle transport vehicle owned by Anderson Trucking Service, wind energy transportation specialists in Minnesota, has a hydraulic jack to distribute weight better as it goes down the roads and over bridges.

Novello said the jack can be used to lift the weight over certain sections of road or lower the rear of the truck, which can be steered independently. A pickup truck follows the transport vehicle with a second driver in case he or she is needed to steer from behind.

The Maine Department of Transportation oversees the transport over the state roads.

“Everyone hopes to get them through as quickly as possible,” Novello said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Dan McKay's picture

So, King and Gardiner are all

So, King and Gardiner are all set to enter the wonderful world of wind power.
Nearly all wind projects have encountered glitches upon start-up, creating additional costs and loss of production.
The premium cost of wind derived electricity is making it more difficult to sell to a wise market that sees other avenues for less expensive electricity coming forward. If natural gas haunted this project before the loan guarantee, it surely has gained in advantage since. Hydro from the North of us has already brought cheaper electricity to Vermont. New engineering/manufacturing developments in nuclear are taking place in New Hampshire creating many jobs.
Roxbury Pond residents have and will always be acute to any degradation occurring to this shallow body of water. There are fines for failure to control erosion and fix up is expensive.
The developers promised within the DEP application to present the town of Roxbury with a yearly check of over $700,000 to cover property taxes. This should have been initiated the day of DEP permit approval as nothing stood in the way for the developers to proceed with increasing the value of this land.
King and Gardiner may know their way around government and how to use greed to entice folks to welcome them in town, but business realities have a way to burst bubbles.
Pray the wind blows your way, Mr. Developers, the rest of the Towns of Western Maine are going to watch this project before jumping aboard this bandwagon.

Karen  Pease's picture

State Police

One hopes that King and Gardiner are paying for our state troopers to escort each of these transports, and that the Maine tax-payer isn't footing the bill. One also hopes there are no serious crimes requiring the expertise of our troopers, who have been relegated to the role of traffic cops.

Of course, whether King and Gardiner shell out for state services or not, once they get their 1603 cash grant of 30% of the project's value, tax payers will be paying for it, anyway. Our money is just doled out in a more circuitous route.

What exactly is 'impressive' about these wind turbines? Yes, they are huge. Gigantic. Colossal and completely out of place in our rural state or atop out mountain ridges. They're more than twice as tall as Maine's tallest skyscraper.

These turbines have been 'sold' to Mainers using arguments alluding to global warming--as if this almost-useless generation system, abandoned 100 years ago for good cause-- will save the earth. Folks have been assured that wind turbines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and directly offset the use of coal and oil (but ask them to prove it and listen to how their arguments change to how wind has added 300-350 construction jobs to Maine's economy!) Most Mainers aren't that naive, and we've done our research. The wind energy plan for Maine will cause far more negative impacts than the paltry benefits produced by these turbines powered by undependable, intermittent and eratic wind.

How many American stimulus dollars are being shipped overseas to Denmark (and other countries) for this one project of King's?

The Siemens turbines proposed by Angus King for this project weigh 304 tons. More than 6,600 tons of steel must be smelted and forged to build the 22 turbines proposed for that 50-megawatt wind project, which will actually produce about 12 megawatts at the 25 percent capacity factor achieved by land-based wind turbines in Maine.

To make that steel would require about 3,000 tons of “coking” coal and 9,000 tons of iron ore. Steel production requires the use of coke, which is a byproduct of pulverized bituminous coal. Coke production is a major source of pollution in the production of steel. Air emissions such as coke-oven gases, naphthalene, ammonium compounds, crude light oil, sulfur and coke dust are released from coke ovens.

But King and Gardiner preach about how 'environmentally friendly' wind turbines are. Do they ever mention selling RECs, which enable coal plants and other dirty polluters to pollute more? And how long before the parts and pieces need to be replaced on the turbines? These massive machines are under such tremendous stress that in less than a dozen years, they will wear out. Become a useless, unprofitable drain on the developer. What happens, then? The tax credits will have run out. The American people will have finally put down their collective feet and said a resounding "NO!" to the wasteful subsidies. Will King and Gardiner dip into their own pockets to replace the turbines (causing a repeat of that high-polluting manufacturing process)? They won't build the project NOW without tax-payers footing the bill... what do we expect will change in 5, 10, 12 years? Do we really believe that they would create Limited Liability Corporations registered in Delaware for their Maine wind facilities if they expected to stick around and be in this business for the long haul? Does anyone truly buy the sales pitch that they are building industrial wind projects to save the planet?

This is about money, it's that simple.

I won't be surprised if King and Gardiner make a deal to sell their project to Iberdrola. If we don't pay very close attention, there will be ONE corporation controlling Maine's energy system... and it's not a Maine company, nor even an American one. When Mr. King wrings his hands and talks about needing wind to 'get us off foreign oil' because 'those people don't like us very much' he should be reminded that those Iberdola execs that he's been flying around in helicopters with as they tour Roxbury are from a company based in Spain, and partnered with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

It's time we stopped drinking the Kool-aid that powerful and once-popular men like King and Gardiner hand us. These turbines rolling across the Maine countryside aren't impressive. They are evidence of corporate control and wasteful spending... and they showcase a disaster in the making.

Karen Pease
Lexington Twp. Maine

Mike DiCenso's picture

wind gamers

If the trend continues of siting industrial garbage all across the state, what is the purpose of Land for Maine's Future? It will all be surrounded by industrial blight, and potential donors/ sellers would think twice before letting their land go for less than top development dollar. It is insulting to those who expected their land would be kept for future generations to enjoy, to find out the wind developers have no respect for their wishes and couldn't care less about where their towers go up. Angus and Rob know full well that wind turbines will never make a dent in energy demand. Even if coal was used less in the US , the coal industry would simply sell it to China. Their new ads for "clean coal" are as full of BS as the wind turbine propaganda. Like the Skillings and Lays of the world, the wind proponents keep hyping their product hoping nobody will catch on. The jig is up, boys. How is the erosion up on the Roxbury project after the rains?

Penny Gray's picture

Very Impressive!

How did these wind turbine parts arrive in Searsport? By sailboat?
What a sham.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Just Another" Oinker "at the Subsidy Trough ,Screwing Mainers!

Always remember this; they are All Despicable Wind Snake Oil Salesmen.

They are neither virtuous nor wise.

Wind developers like King and First Wind are mostly cynical profiteers out to make a buck, who pull the necessary strings and grease the necessary palms to win their approvals...They are opportunists who travel to financially distressed rural areas of Maine and entice unsuspecting residents and rural folks to sign their lease agreements which neuter their rights to their own land.Most of the others are ill-informed and idealistic-and maybe a bit impulsive-who have no idea what they are in for once the blades of the industrial energy generator begin to spin. They reassure energy committees and town fathers that everything will be fine. They bribe with other half baked schemes. Talk is cheap!

Angus King and his son, a CEO of First Wind involved in Merger and Acquisition of Wind projects, are no more than despicable snake oil scoundrels and salesmen, using past political history to make millions off the backs of Mainers to scam taxes and desecrate environment.

Brad Blake's picture

Critique this, not Glorify

Once again, the silver tongued charlatan Angus King has his way with the media. Where is the balance in reporting? There is no reference here to the narrow vote to approve in Roxbury, where some registered voters were unable to vote. There is no comment attributable to the Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury or the statewide coalition Citizens Task Force on Wind Power.

Angus King gets to spin his hype. 122 million kw of power sounds great, doesn't it? How about expressing that as a percentage of output compared to nameplate capacity and it ends up being a cheerily optimistic 27.5%. What about revealing that this is intermittent, unpredictable, unreliable power that isn't needed in the ISO-NE grid? What about the new powerlines and expansions necessary to overbuild to receive the surges of power whenever the project actually has adequate wind to produce power?

What about the price we pay so King and Gardiner can be giddy about being "green" and laugh all the way to the bank with taxpayer money? No mention of the fact that for a long time this project couldn't secure funding. Now the "good old boy" network of Yale University endowment came to the rescue along with the taxpayers being on the hook for $102 million loan guarantee. No mention that wind power as an industry would not exist except for heinous mandates that will inevitable drive up electricity prices and taxpayer subsidies which, when all is done, usually total some 60% of the developer's cost.

Lastly, what about the complete destruction of Record Hill, Flathead Mt., and Partridge Peak above beautiful Roxbury Pond? What about these 45 story turbines with flashing aviation lights being right in the face of the Appalachian Trail, the Mahoosuc Preserve, Tumbledown Mt. Preserve, and the Mahoosuc Land Trust Preserve on Rumford Whitecap? We are ruining those special places we sought to preserve by surrounding them with wind turbines. Sadly, this project of Angus King is just the first to blight the Oxford Hills and the Appalachian mountains of this region as an onslaught of industrial wind projects is about to be unleashed.

You owe the residents of this region better reporting than the glorification of Angus King and his destructive wind turbines!

PAUL MATTSON's picture

WHY GIVE TAX CREDITS /

WHY GIVE TAX CREDITS / SUBSIDIES TO RICH INDIVIDUALS HAVING PRODUCT MANUFACTURED IN BRAZIL AND SHIPPED TO SEARSPORT?

Nick Adams's picture

probably one of two reasons:

probably one of two reasons: either "A" the United States isn't making these, or "B" unfortunately they send them out to the lowest bid for building the turbines and, of course, the United States isn't the lowest bid.

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