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Friday, October 9, 2009

Wind power is poised to return
Turbine towers are being assembled


PRINCETON —  Construction crews spent yesterday putting together two, 1.5-megawatt wind turbines that will supply 40 percent of the town’s power by the end of the month.

Jonathan V. Fitch, general manager of the Princeton Municipal Light Department, said construction of the 70-meter towers is like assembling an erector set. “The wind turbines are like a giant erector set, with nuts and bolts putting it together as one big assembly,” Mr. Fitch said. “It’s an awful big erector set.”

Construction was delayed while the town waited for delivery of the base sections of the tower. Those were delivered Wednesday night, he said. Yesterday, the bases were moved from the Princeton Municipal Light Department on Worcester Road to the site off Westminster Road, he said, and construction started as soon as they were transferred from the trailers.

The bases were secured to two concrete pads; two cranes — one 300 feet tall weighing 300 tons — lifted the sections of the towers onto them, Mr. Fitch said. The project should be complete within two weeks, he said, depending on the weather.

Permitting and legal work on the project began 10 years ago and it was approved by voters in 2003. “The residents, who own the light department, have been waiting six years,” he said. “This project is finally coming to an end after all the work, and residents can’t wait to see it operational. We have at least 100 people calling weekly asking when it will go up, and who are excited about seeing the project come to life.”

The turbines are replacing eight smaller windmills that were installed in the 1980s and de-commissioned in 2004. The $7.3 million project is a joint effort by the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. and the Princeton Municipal Light Department, formed to finance and construct the wind farm.