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Maine wind powerIn a nearly unanimous vote just last summer, members of Maine's Fox Island Electric Cooperative decided to invest in wind to power the island.

Today the $14.5 million Fox Islands Wind project officially goes on line with a ribbon-cutting event, marking the completion of Maine's first island wind project; the largest community-owned wind project on the East Coast.

To be able to take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credits for any renewable power that does not emit greenhouse gases (like natural gas, coal or oil), the co-op formed a for-profit subsidiary; Fox Islands Wind LLC. The cost to build the three 1.5-megawatt turbines to supply their community power was $14 million.

They raised the funds by getting a $9.5 million loan from the USDA and also finding an angel investor, Diversified Communications from Portland; that invested $5 million in return for tax credits.

The community owned coop is betting that wind will deliver them cheaper electricity  than the $0.30 a kwh they pay now. Because all the islanders' electricity comes 12 miles from the mainland in an underground cable, energy losses raise their electricity prices.

The 4.5 MW wind farm (of just three turbines) is expected to be able to cover 100% of their energy needs, for the 2,000 of them on the two islands, but residents number over 5,000 in the summer during tourist season.

Excess power during winter months will be sold into the grid, so the return on their investment gets even better. Each member's share of a 100% wind-powered electricity supply for 25 years? $7,000.

Not only are the three 1.5 MW wind turbines community owned, but Cianbro, the company installing it, is an employee-owned company. There must be something in the water. Their job:

Provide support for permitting, engineering and procurement of the turbines
Clear the site; build the site road and pour the concrete foundations
Erect the three GE 1.5 MW wind turbines, including tower sections, nacelle, hub and blades
Install all the grid interconnections, SCADA and communications systems

There is no profit being made because Fox Island Electric Cooperative is a co-op; but the island resident members will benefit from having a stable supply of lower priced clean energy which supplies 100% of their electricity needs.

There might be more tourists next summer, too, as more people come out to see how their neighborhood can make their own clean energy.

Source: Cianbro

See original news item: CleanTechnica.com, Nov-17-2009  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Dec-1-2009)   Web site
There are some stories like this, now and then. I try to include them here at PlanetThoughts.org when I hear of them. Maybe if enough of stories of independent islands, cities, or nations are publicized, people will start thinking of large-scale energy and transportation changes as an opportunity instead of as a risk and an economic drag.
  
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Nov-30-2009)   Web site

Thanks for sharing this good news. It's echoed by a story from Denmark, host of the coming climate change talks, that the island of Samso has become energy self-sufficient.

  
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About contributor Member: dotcommodity (Susan Kraemer) dotcommodity (Susan Kraemer)

Member: dotcommodity (Susan Kraemer) I write about the solutions for the fix that humanity finds itself in with climate change and the end of the oil age, and about renewable energy and climate change and sustainable living for several online publications.

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