East Mountain Demonstration Project:
26 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
September 16, 2003
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Project Summary
East Haven Windfarm plans to install four 1.5 megawatt
(MW) wind turbines on the summit of East Mountain in
East Haven, Vermont, in the fall of 2004. The site was a
United States Air Force radar base until it was abandoned in
1961. There is a paved road to the open summit at an
elevation of 3,400 feet, where the neglected metal buildings
from the 1950s still stand, rusting in the wind.
More than five years of wind data, gathered at the summit
and at nearby Burke Mountain, provide confidence that the Beginning
long-term average wind speed is close to 20 miles per hour,
which will allow modern 1.5 MW wind turbines to deliver in the fall of
electricity to the local utility at below market rates. These
four turbines will provide about 30% of the Village of 2004, the
Lyndonville Electric Department’s (VLED) energy needs,
the equivalent of the annual electricity consumed by about four-turbine
3,000 Vermont homes.
East Haven Windfarm hopes to eventually install 50 turbines on the ridges of East Mountain,
as well as East Haven and Seneca Mountains in the towns of East Haven and Ferdinand. generate
When completed, this larger, 75 MW project would provide 50% of the electricity for the
entire Northeast Kingdom, cleanly, renewably and inexpensively. about 30
Before undertaking the development of such a large project, East Haven Windfarm plans to percent of
install four turbines as the Demonstration Project described here.
This Project will demonstrate on a small scale:
• The visual appearance of modern, utility-scale wind turbines
• The delivery of clean, low priced electricity to the Northeast Kingdom
• The impacts of wind turbines on tourism and property values
• The environmental impacts of wind turbine installation and operation
• The performance of wind turbines in East Mountain’s harsh natural environment
East Haven Windfarm has title to the necessary land and easements required for the
Demonstration Project. We plan to apply for the required Vermont Section 248 Certificate of
Public Good in the fall of 2003 and to complete the project in the fall of 2004. Any future
development of additional turbines would be a separate project that would require a new and
separate permitting process.
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Visual Appearance
The closest clear view of the Demonstration Project from a permanent residence is
approximately six miles away from the installation site. At this distance one of the wind
turbines would be well hidden by an aspirin tablet held at arm’s length.
The turbines stand about 220 feet tall at the hub and will be spaced approximately 900 feet
apart. The three blades are colored black and are 115 feet long. The blades turn at 15
revolutions per minute, which appears slow to the eye. The distance from permanent
habitation will reduce their visual impact, as will the fact that the towers will be painted a
pale gray-blue to match the average cloudy sky.
The turbine towers will be The wind
equipped with FAA-approved
lighting, in the interest of turbine
aviation safety. The precise
nature of that lighting is still blades will
being worked out with the
FAA, but East Haven rotate at 15
Windfarm intends to minimize
the visibility of the lighting revolutions
from the ground to the greatest
extent possible. per minute,
Many people who have seen which
modern wind turbines describe
them as graceful and appears
fascinating to watch. Others
feel that wind turbines are an slow to the
appropriate addition to
Vermont’s working landscape, eye.
which has seen many uses in
the past several hundred years.
We recognize that aesthetic
values vary. However, anyone
who can see the wind turbines
from their home will benefit
from receiving the electricity
The Demonstration Project will
allow Vermonters to make
informed decisions for
themselves about the visual
Elevation drawing of a 1.5-MW wind turbine impact of wind turbines prior to
larger scale development. We
are confident that once
constructed, the Demonstration Project will be met with the same level of broad public
approval that modern windfarms around the world have received, including Vermont’s
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Sale of the Produced Electricity
• The electricity produced by the Demonstration Project will be sold directly to VLED,
to be used by regional business and residential electric customers.
• The four turbines will provide about 30% of electricity consumed in VLED’s service
• The effective price to VLED will be approximately 10% below the ISO-New
England electricity market price. VLED will then be able to pass this cost savings on
to its customers. The effective
• All energy produced by the installation will be delivered to VLED’s transmission electricity
system via a 34.5 kV line running from East Mountain to a substation in Burke.
VLED will be
Utility pole mounted with Hendrix transmission line similar to the
type that will be used in the proposed Demonstration Project
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Tourism and Property Values
Modern wind turbines have been widely installed around the United States in recent years,
with more than 1,000 turbines projected to be installed in 2003. However, there are only
twelve modern turbines in all of New England, including 11 in Searsburg, Vermont.
Experience from Searsburg and elsewhere has demonstrated that windfarms have no adverse
impact on tourism. In fact, windfarms throughout Europe, the Americas, and elsewhere often
serve as tourist attractions. For example, every announced educational tour of the Searsburg
facility has reportedly been filled almost immediately since 1997, and the Mount Snow
Chamber of Commerce has stated that “tourists think very well of those windmills.” This
experience has been mirrored in Madison County, New York, where a new windfarm has
become a top tourist attraction. In the resort community of Palm Springs, California, over The
10,000 visitors tour the nearby windfarm each year. Windfarms are also proven tourist
attractions in Australia, with 85,000 vehicles entering a viewing area of a windfarm in Searsburg
Queensland in one year’s time.
A 2002 survey found that 91% of visitors to an area in Scotland known for its “beautiful
scenery and views” responded that the presence of three large commercial windfarms now in and Lister
operation would make no difference in whether they visit again in the future. An additional
four percent said the windfarms made them more likely to return to the area, and 80% said has said that
they would be interested in actually visiting a windfarm.
Contrary to the fears of some, the evidence from around the United States is that windfarms
do not decrease property values. A recent study by an independent energy policy organization values have
in Washington, DC, found that in nine out of ten cases they examined (including Searsburg),
property values inside the “view shed” of a windfarm actually increased faster than those in not
comparable areas with no view of the windfarm. Local realtors in communities around
Searsburg, as well as the Town Clerk and Lister have stated that property values have not decreased
decreased due to the windfarm there.
as a result of
In addition, there is good reason to believe that the increase in recreational opportunities
created by enhanced public access to East Mountain enabled by the windfarm will further the nearby
augment tourism. East Haven Windfarm plans to:
• Remove the old buildings on the summit windfarm.
• Preserve one of the radar buildings as a Cold War interpretive center and scenic
• Allow all-season public recreational access to the summit, consistent with prudent
• Provide tourist facilities
• Coordinate with NEK stakeholders on recreational operations
• Provide Vermont state police and local emergency service radios repeaters
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Turbine Installation and Operation
The installation of the four turbines on the summit of East Mountain will take approximately
five months. The installation process will require the use of large cranes and some heavy
equipment, all of which will be brought to the summit on the existing access road.
Installation of the turbines on the summit of East Mountain will demonstrate that land
clearing required for roadways, foundations and tower erection will have no significant
environmental impact. The amount of cleared space required for construction is about half an Environ-
acre per turbine, including the roadway between them. In this case, virtually all of this space
is already cleared, and in some places covered with blacktop or concrete, left behind by the mental
radar base. As a result of the site’s history, environmental impacts from construction will be
particularly minimal. In addition, expert analyses show that the environmental impacts of the impacts from
Project’s operation, including its impact on birds, will also be minimal.
The impact of the wind turbines on birds and other wildlife will be examined closely by East
Haven Windfarm in connection with the required Vermont Section 248 Certificate of Public will be
Good permitting process. It should be noted that the frequency of bird collisions with modern
wind turbines has been minimized with advances in tower design and turbine siting strategies. minimal and
Appropriately sited windfarms are now generally recognized to pose less of a hazard to birds
than many other routinely built structures, and wind energy has been endorsed by major will be
conservation groups such as the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club.
Old radar base on the summit of East Mountain
East Mountain Demonstration Project | Turbine Performance
Once the Demonstration Project is operational, the performance of the wind turbines will be
continually monitored to confirm the historically measured wind data and verify the projected
turbine performance characteristics.
Because of its northern mountaintop location, the East Mountain Demonstration Project will
be in a unique position to contribute to a greater understanding of how wind turbines operate
in severe climates. An important role of the project will be the evaluation of the effects of
extreme cold weather and blade icing on turbine availability and power output. East Haven
Windfarm intends to work with wind energy industry researchers on a collaborative study of
ways to reduce icing losses on wind turbines in northern climates.