Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP) constructed a 6 MW wind power plant on a ridge near Searsburg, Vt., with financial and technical support from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This arrangement of 11 high-tech windmills generated over 1.2 million kWh of electricity in the first two months of 1998—enough to power about 1,500 homes. GMP selected the Searsburg site because of its strong and persistent winter winds and proximity to existing access roads and transmission lines, enabling the plant to generate more electricity when it’s most needed.

Designed to withstand cold climates, the turbines have black blades to absorb the warmth of the sun and shed ice, while the gear boxes use heaters and synthetic lubricants. The turbines mount on 40 m tubular steel towers, with the support of 200-ton concrete foundations. Turning at a constant speed of 29 rpm, each generates 550 kW of electricity at wind speeds above 30 mph. By reducing the need to burn fossil fuels, air emissions may reduce by 22 million pounds a year in parts of New England. For more information on the EPRI-DOE Wind Turbine Verification Program, call Chuck McGowin at (650) 855-2445 or e-mail cmcgowin@epri.com.