PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — More than just the onset of spring is helping to make the campus of the University of Maine at Presque Isle greener.
Next week, the campus will officially commission its 600- kilowatt wind turbine — the first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a university campus in the state.
The ceremony will be held Thursday, May 14, just two years after university officials announced their intention to move forward on installing a wind turbine on campus.
“We are very excited to see this project come to fruition,” UMPI President Don Zillman said Tuesday afternoon. “There has been a great deal of hard work that has gone into this and we have a remarkable windmill ready to show the community.”
The commissioning event will feature remarks by local and state officials and a presentation to explain how UMPI’s wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will get from the turbine to campus buildings.
The event then will move outside to the wind turbine site where a formal commissioning ceremony will be held.
University officials announced last year that the campus would begin generating clean energy this spring after reaching an agreement with general contractor Lumus Construction Inc. on a $2 million project to install a 600-kilowatt wind turbine on the northern Maine campus.
The Presque Isle college is the first university in the state and one of only a handful in New England to install a midsize wind turbine.
University officials anticipate that the 600-kilowatt 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.
The project is being financed by UMPI’s “own internal savings” over the past few years, together with a $50,000 grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Crews are now completing interior equipment installation, electrical hookup work, and diagnostic tests, and the turbine is expected to begin spinning in the next couple of weeks.
To view photos, videos and more details about the project, visit www.umpi.edu/wind. For information about the Wind Turbine Commissioning event, call the Media Relations Office at 768-9452.