CARTHAGE — Tuesday’s recount in Dixfield that reversed the wind ordinance vote — allowing wind projects to be built in town — spawned rumors that Patriot Renewables was fast-tracking one in.

People who started the rumors said all of those oversized turbine tower sections and gigantic blades that drivers see being hauled west along Routes 2 and 17 from Jay Plaza are headed for Colonel Holman Ridge in Dixfield, Rebecca Howard of Dixfield said Wednesday at Patriot’s $66 million Saddleback Ridge Wind project construction site in Carthage. Howard is Patriot Renewables’ assistant director of government and community relations.

The Carthage site is where those sections for nine turbines are headed. 

“We’re not going to sneak in and put turbines up,” she said.

“That would be really hard to do,” added Todd Presson, Patriot Renewables’ chief operating officer.

“We’re so far away from that, but there are people in Dixfield that are quick to say that we’re bamboozling the public,” Howard said. “It’s just not going to happen that quickly. Like they said, ‘Right after the vote is recounted, the very next day, here come turbine parts for Dixfield.’ ‘No, no, no, no — they’re for the Carthage project,’ we said.”


Presson said that while Patriot Renewables hopes to one day go through the years-long process to gain permitting approval to construct a wind project in Dixfield, it’s nothing that’s being “fast-tracked.”

“It’s years away,” he said. “We’re still waiting to digest the results of the vote reversal.”

The recount was 359-390 against repealing the 2012 ordinance and replacing it with the Planning Board’s draft.

“The previous vote deal was a killer,” Presson said of Dixfield’s June 9 vote.

The tally was 377-372 in favor of repealing the 2012 ordinance (which allows wind projects) and replacing it with the more restrictive Planning Board draft that Patriot Renewables said would block any wind projects using available turbine technology.

“There’s still so much in the (pre-development) process that we have to do,” like bird and bat studies, Howard said.


“We’re in the early development stage in Dixfield,” Presson said. “It’s been our intention all along for the town to come to terms for a wind project, and it now seems that they have with another vote. There have been many votes. They vote a lot.”

Whenever Patriot Renewables brings a project to Dixfield, Howard said it would be a 20-megawatt project, which could mean less than a dozen turbines. They simply haven’t decided yet.

“Wind farms are getting to be more of an accepted thing as time goes by,” Howard said. “People are not seeing them blowing up. They’re not seeing them come crashing down and destroying things.

“Generally, most of the people are coming around a little bit and getting past the initial shock of seeing something in your backyard that you haven’t looked at yet,” she said. “It’s hard for this area to accept change and see it as progress.”

Last year at the Carthage site, all major site work and transmission lines were completed by Patriot Renewables’ construction teams, including Reed & Reed of Woolwich and Sargent Corp. of Stillwater.

Three of 12 GE 2.85-megawatt turbines were erected on the lower end of the ridge closest to Route 2. Presson said they are operational and have been generating electricity.


“Those turbines are on the lower end of the ridge and are pretty much in line with our expectations,” he said.

From Jan. 1 to June 23, they generated 11,934 megawatt hours of electricity, Lauren Austin, Patriot Renewables’ community development manager said. When all 12 turbines are operational, the project will generate nearly 110,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year, Howard said.

“It’s enough to power more than 17,500 homes and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of approximately 5.2 million gallons of gas each year,” Howard said.

The turbines begin generating energy when the wind reaches 7 miles per hour and will continue to produce energy in winds up to 55 miles per hour.

“The ridge has met our expectations for wind,” Presson said. “Last year was a very windy year.”

The electricity feeds into the power grid via a substation in Canton, Presson said.


“So it goes wherever it goes along the path of least resistance,” Presson said. “But for accounting purposes, we have a contract to provide electricity to 18 different municipal utilities in Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, and they, in turn, have customers.”

He said the huge towers for the turbines come from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, and are trucked to the Saddleback Ridge Wind project site from Canada. The turbine blades are made in Brazil, shipped to the Port of Albany in New York and trucked to Jay from there.

“Then the nacelles — everything that fits on top of the towers — that’s sent by rail from Pensacola, Fla., to Albany, N.Y.,” Presson said.

Barring any adverse weather, such as high winds, it takes from one to two days to erect a wind turbine, Presson said. High winds for the past four days have prevented Reed & Reed workers from lifting the assembled hub of blades for No. 12’s 280-foot-tall turbine tower with a huge crane to the nacelle and attaching them.

He expects the remaining nine turbines to be assembled and erected by August. Presson said the project is scheduled to be completed and commissioned by October.

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