CLIFTON, Maine — Drivers can expect some short traffic delays over about the next three weeks as the parts for five massive turbines for the Pisgah Mountain wind project make their way from Searsport to Clifton, according to developer Paul Fuller.
“We’re all systems go,” Fuller said Tuesday.
Beginning Thursday, “there will be three pieces a day travelling through Brewer for about three and a half weeks,” he said.
The five Vestas V90-1.8 megawatt wind turbines are so large that a 351-foot-tall crane was brought in for their installation atop the mountain.
“All the foundations are in, the electrical is installed and the roads are in place, so we’re good to go,” Fuller said. “The towers are in Searsport. Each tower has four parts. The cells and the blades are arriving from China [Tuesday].”
Beginning Thursday, the parts will be transported from the port in Searsport along Route 1A north to Hampden, where they will be redirected onto Route 202, then Interstate 395, before exiting onto South Main Street in Brewer. From there, the parts will make their way north on Route 9 until connecting with Route 180 in Clifton, and then Springy Pond Road where the roadway to the wind farm is located.
Each turbine part will be escorted by two police cruisers, with the first piece scheduled to leave Searsport at 6 a.m. Thursday and expected to arrive at 9 a.m. at the mountain.
“It will tie up traffic at each of the corners for about five minutes,” Fuller said of the route.
The Clifton Planning Board unanimously approved the $25 million wind farm in October 2011, and the board of appeals voted unanimously on Jan. 25, 2012, to deny a subsequent appeal by neighboring Rebel Hill Farm owners Julie and Peter Beckford.
The Beckfords, however, followed up by filing a lawsuit against the town on March 15, 2012, which delayed the construction but which ultimately was denied by the supreme court because of a missed filing deadline.
Fuller and his wife, Sandy, his brother-in-law Mike Smith, all of Bangor, Clifton residents John and Eileen Williams, and Gail and Wally Kimball of Veazie are the local Pisgah Mountain wind farm partners. They are listed under Pisgah Mountain Holdings LLC as 51 percent majority owners of the wind farm.
The local group entered into a partnership in March with the energy company SWEB Development USA, which helped purchase the five turbines that need to be in place before Oct. 15 to meet a deadline required as part of the Public Utility Commission’s 20-year Community-based Renewable Energy contract between Pisgah and Emera Maine, Fuller said.
SWEB Development is a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based subsidiary of Austrian developer WEB Windenergie, which operates 203 wind power plants in five European nations and Canada and has a lot of experience with Vestas turbines.
Once the farm is operational, Clifton will receive an estimated $200,000 to $250,000 in annual property taxes, and a separate $45,000 annual payment through a host community agreement.
Cianbro Corp. is the general contractor; CES engineering of Brewer did the civil engineering and surveys; RLC Engineering of Hallowell are the electrical engineers; and Gary Pomeroy Logging cleared the land and put down the road.
Fuller described the plan for the 21-day installation as “a well-choreographed dance.”