UMPI hosts wind turbine commissioning event
On Thursday, May 14, at 11 a.m. in the Campus Center, the University hosted an environmentally-friendly ceremony to mark the first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a Maine university campus. State and local dignitaries - including UMPI President Don Zillman; Sumul Shah, President of Lumus Construction, Inc.; Commissioner Vendean Vafiades of the Maine Public Utilities Commission; University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude; representatives of Maine's Congressional Delegation; and Presque Isle City Manager Tom Stevens - gathered with campus and community members for the ceremonial commissioning of the University's 600 kW wind turbine.
The first half of the event, at the Campus Center, included remarks by local and state officials as well as a short presentation on how the University's wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will be delivered to the campus buildings it will power.
The second half of the event, at the wind turbine site, included a Native American drumming song and a ribbon cutting featuring the release of environmentally-friendly, dove-shaped, paper balloons (similar balloons were released during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan). The ceremonial commissioning also featured the release of more than 100 small, paper whirligigs from the top of the turbine tower.
Refreshments and videos showcasing UMPI's wind turbine installation were available inside the Campus Center following the ceremony.
For more information about this event or about the University's Wind Turbine Project, please contact the Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452.
- Sentiments from Congressman Michaud
- Sentiments from Governor Baldacci
- Sentiments from Senator Collins
- Sentiments from Senator Snowe
Wind turbine dedicated in Presque Isle
University hopes to save about $100,000 a year
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN BENNETT
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A whipping wind welcomed guests Thursday to the University of Maine at Presque Isle as the same element that blew guests’ hair askew was introduced as the new power source for the campus.
UMPI officially commissioned its new windmill in front of more than 70 people during a ceremony that lasted more than an hour. Presque Isle is the first university campus in the state, and one of only a handful in New England, to install a midsize wind turbine to generate power.
After a few more diagnostic tests, the turbine will begin spinning in mid-May.
The ceremony was held two years after university officials announced their intention to move forward with installing a 600-kilowatt windmill on campus.
Thursday’s fete took place on a day in which a high-wind warning was in effect across several parts of the state. Guests hunched over, bracing themselves against the gusts, and clutched hats and sunglasses to keep them from being blown away when the ceremony briefly moved outside.
The commissioning event featured remarks by local and state officials, while a presentation explained how UMPI’s wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will get from the turbine to campus buildings.
UMPI President Don Zillman said the $2 million turbine project will help fight climate change while reducing the college’s nearly $370,000 annual electric bill.
Lumus Construction Inc. was the general contractor that installed the wind turbine on the northern Maine campus. Company officials attended the ceremony.
Local contractors also assisted with the project.
University officials anticipate the turbine will produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year and save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. Once fully operational, the windmill is expected to save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year.
The windmill is located approximately 30 yards from the baseball fields.
Representatives from U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe’s and Susan Collins’ offices, along with a representative from Rep. Mike Michaud’s office, spoke on behalf of each dignitary during the event. All congratulated UMPI on the successful project.
Snowe said in a written statement that the project “was an ambitious goal to reduce the energy costs and carbon footprint of the UMPI campus,” while Collins said that “creative approaches to energy,” such as the turbine installed by UMPI, “are what we need on a national scale to achieve American energy independence.”
Michaud said UMPI was leading by example, adding that using wind and other domestically available renewable energy resources “is crucial to ensuring that we have access to clean, reliable, diversified and affordable electricity for generations to come.”
University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude said the board of trustees was “proud of this wonderful accomplishment.”
“This doesn’t happen easily,” he said Thursday after acknowledging the effort put forth to bring the project to fruition.
The project was financed by UMPI’s internal savings, together with a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Thursday’s commissioning also featured an American Indian drumming song at the turbine site, along with the release of environmentally friendly balloons after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
To view photos, videos and more details about the project, visit www.umpi.edu/wind.
From November 2009:
Film on UMPI windmill to premiere Thursday
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For many people in the city area, the wind turbine project at the University of Maine at Presque Isle seemed to go pretty quickly. One day, they heard news that UMPI would build the windmill, a few months later the equipment was hauled onto campus, and in a few more months the massive turbine was spinning.
But there was much more to the process than that, all of which was preserved on film by UMPI. Now the university will share that footage with the public in a documentary premiering on Thursday evening.
The official film premiere of “Wind 101: The University of Maine at Presque Isle Builds a Wind Turbine,” will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Braden Theater.
The half-hour-long, high-definition film, directed by local videographer and filmmaker Frank Grant and narrated by longtime theater professor Joseph Zubrick, follows the step-by-step process it took for UMPI to complete this major renewable energy project. The film shows the process from the first energy survey to the last windmill installation detail, together with the bumps encountered along the way.
The film also shows the work the university did to turn the project into an educational opportunity for its students and the community.
UMPI President Don Zillman said Tuesday that he has seen snippets of the film but will watch the entire premiere with the rest of the community.
“I think the film captures very nicely what we went through to make this happen,” said Zillman. “It was a great experience and I am looking forward to see it on the big screen.”
The night of the film premiere is an important anniversary for UMPI: On Nov. 19, 2008, construction work officially began on the university’s 600-kilowatt wind turbine, the first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a university campus in Maine.
The turbine is expected to produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. It is expected to save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year, or the equivalent of removing 123 cars from the road.
Campus officials said that on many days the wind turbine has generated enough electricity to supply all of the university’s energy needs.
The wind is expected to blow harder and more consistently during the winter months, and officials are waiting to see how the turbine performs in its first year.
The university announced plans to move forward on a wind turbine project in May 2007. The college received support from the Maine Army National Guard, which made improvements to the road leading to the turbine site. Construction work began in November 2008. In late February 2009, the tower parts, which were manu-factured in North Dakota, began arriving. In April, the blades, hub and nacelle — manufactured in India — were delivered, and in just four days, the turbine was completely assembled. It began spinning in mid-May.
Funding for the project came from campus reserves built up through more than 20 years. The university received a $50,000 Voluntary Renewable Resources Fund grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission to go toward the project. The college also received assistance from the Rebuild America grant program through Ef-ficiency Maine.
The film features footage that takes the viewer into the classroom, out into the field, and up to the top of the wind turbine.
Zillman said Tuesday that officials did not immediately know they wanted to make a video about the process, but felt it was necessary to film as many of the events as possible.
“We knew that if we did not have footage of certain events, like the equipment being delivered and the parts going up, we would be kicking ourselves,” he said. “So we just started filming things.”
After the premiere, the film will be shown to students and staff at UMPI. After that, Zillman said the campus is interested in distributing a DVD to a wider audience.
There are only 144 seats in the theater and ticket sales are on a first-come, first-served basis. After the film, there will be a short question-and-answer session with filmmakers and university officials involved in the project.
Tickets are $10 each and are available at Morning Star Art and Framing on Main Street or at the UMPI Conferences and Special Programs Office in the Campus Center.
For information, call 768-9452 or visit www.umpi.edu/wind.
From 3 Days Ago
Kittery will sell failed wind turbine
Town expects to receive less in return than it paid
By Charles McMahon
May 11, 2010 2:00 AM
KITTERY, Maine — The Town Council on Monday night unanimously agreed to offload a wind turbine that failed to live up to its expectations and will now look to sell the alternative energy equipment for much less than the town paid for it.
By a vote of 7-0, the council agreed to consider a proposal from Western Community Energy of Portland, Ore., for the sale of the turbine and the pole for $130,000.
The equipment was sold to the town for $191,000 in October 2008 by a company called Entegrity after it had been vetted by the town energy committee and the council.
Installed near the town transfer station, the 50-kilowatt turbine failed significantly, only producing less than 11 kilowatt hours of electricity.
When the town realized last year the turbine was not producing up to expectations, arrangements were made with Entegrity to repurchase the equipment. The business ultimately went bankrupt and no payments were made.
Town Manager Jon Carter said the town maintained communication with Entregrity's owner, Jim Heath, and recently received a proposal that would allow for the sale of the failed equipment.
"He continues to indicate he wishes to make good on his repurchase agreement," Carter said.
The council previously discussed the possible sale of the turbine at its last meeting and came up with several questions.
Carter reported to the council that Heath would receive no commission on the sale, and the state approved taking $34,214 in repayment for a $50,000 grant received to help purchase the equipment.
Carter said the payment of $130,000, once finalized through a purchase and sale agreement, would be wired to the town's bank account and the cost of dismantling the equipment would be incurred by the buyer.
He added that if the town were ever to get into the alternative energy business again, it would already have a platform and associated wiring installed.
Councilor Frank Dennett said he wasn't happy about having to sell the equipment, but in hindsight it should not have been approved in the first place.
"That's what you get when you listen to Ph.D.s," Dennett said. "Lesson learned. Once burned, twice cautious."
Fair Use Notice: This website may reproduce or have links to copyrighted material the use of which has not been expressly authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available, without profit, as part of our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, economic, scientific, and related issues. It is our understanding that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided by law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.