Green Mountain Power (GMP) has announced that it is beginning construction of the Kingdom Community Wind project, a 63-megawatt (MW) capacity wind power project in Lowell, Vt. The 21-turbine wind farm, which is expected to be operating by the end of next year, will generate enough electricity to power more than 24,000 homes for GMP customers and members of the Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC), GMP said.
GMP has been working toward developing Kingdom Community Wind, including performing environmental and economic impact studies, for more than three years. The project was supported by three quarters of Lowell voters on a 2010 Town Meeting Day ballot. In July, nearly 80 percent of Vermont Electric Cooperative members voted to support transmission system upgrades, as well. The project was approved by the Vermont Public Service Board in late May, and GMP has now received all of the permits required to begin construction.
In an effort to protect water quality, GMP will provide for biological monitoring of streams during and following construction – the first time such monitoring has been performed for either wind farms or ski areas in Vermont. GMP has also collected water chemistry data for all streams around the project in order to understand and protect water quality.
Once completed, Kingdom Community Wind will be the largest renewable energy project in the state. Investment in the project already tops $4 million, with more than 90 different Vermont firms in on the preconstruction phase. “This is a local energy project built by Vermonters, for Vermonters,” said GMP CEO Mary Powell. “This project is a true win-win for all involved.”
Construction will proceed in two phases, beginning with turbines, which are expected to be complete and running by the end of 2012. The second phase will involve upgrading the 40-year-old transmission line between Lowell and the town of Jay, Vt.