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Vermont's First Wind Farm Begins Commercial Operation

Mon January 08, 2018 - Northeast Edition #1
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Avangrid Renewables began commercial operation of its Deerfield Wind Farm.
Avangrid Renewables began commercial operation of its Deerfield Wind Farm.

Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. began commercial operation at its newest wind farm, and first in Vermont, the Deerfield Wind Farm, in the towns of Readsboro and Searsburg on Dec. 29.

The new wind farm construction, which created nearly 200 jobs at its peak and millions of dollars of local spending, is the first wind farm on U.S. Forest Service land in the country.

“This project in concept has been at the forefront of our program of work for many years,” said John Sinclair, forest supervisor of the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests. “Today we are proud to recognize the dedicated USFS employees, local leaders, partners and government agencies that have contributed countless hours of work toward making the development of our nation's first commercial-scale wind energy facility on National Forest System lands a reality here in Vermont.”

The two towns combined will receive direct annual payments expected to total $6.8 million over the life of the project, and the wind farm will generate an estimated $6 million in tax payments to the state to support education funding.

“This project took a long time, but will deliver big benefits for everyone in Searsburg,” said Searsburg board member and town energy coordinator Mike Johnson. “It's a giant boost for clean energy, and we believe the winds of time will prove their worth.”

We are thankful for a job well done,” said Helyn Strom-Henriksen, the Selectboard chair from the town of Readsboro. “We are looking forward to the positive impacts this project will have on the area.”

The 30-megawatt wind farm includes 15 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines which produce enough clean, renewable energy to power roughly 14,000 average Vermont homes annually. Avangrid Renewables will own and operate the wind farm, and sell the energy to Green Mountain Power under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

“We are able to celebrate this milestone because of the hard work of our many partners, especially at the local level,” said Dave Carroll, vice president of projects for Avangrid Renewables. “Working with Green Mountain Power, the U.S. Forest Service, and the local communities means we're able to create clean energy and local economic benefits in rural Vermont.”

The Deerfield Wind Farm construction has spent roughly $7.5 million locally to date. More than 25 New England-based companies worked on the wind farm, including 11 from Vermont, supplying a range of services from labor and materials to engineering and electrical work.