Harnessing the Wind

Harnessing the Wind

Colby alumni bring booming wind-farm industry to Maine and the Northeast

By Douglas Rooks '76 | Photos by Heather Perry '93

In mid-December in freezing rain on 1,085-foot Stetson Mountain, close to the Canadian border in Maine’s easternmost Washington County, a construction crew jockeyed a 250-foot rotor assembly atop a 256-foot tower. Hoisted by an enormous crane, the blades were carefully guided into place until, finally, there was an audible, satisfying clunk.

“She’s in,” said Ron Perry, field safety specialist with the construction company Reed & Reed, watching the operation from the ground.

And Maine moved another windmill closer to its goal of making wind power, a relative newcomer in the New England and the Northeast power mix, a major source of electricity.

Maine will soon have 400 megawatts in wind energy—nearly half the electricity once produced by the now-closed Maine Yankee nuclear plant. A Maine task-force goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2015, some from fixed offshore platforms, still looks ambitious, but it’s not out of the question. On that same December day, the state announced first-in-the-nation testing of areas designated for offshore wind turbines. Reed & Reed, a Maine-based construction company headed by co-owners Jackson Parker ’76 and Tom Reed ’87, is a leading player, erecting wind farms across northern Maine and as far south as the Berkshires in Massachusetts.
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  • On January 31, 2010, Mike DiCenso wrote:
    The windsprawl you write about has another side. Lawsuits abound in every place windsprawl has taken root. From sneaky dealings with local officials to outright bribes and corruption, Maine is under attack from a company whose Mafia founders are being investigated in Italy. When HydroQuebec will sell Maine power for 2cents per kw/hr and the Governor still pushes windsprawl power at 23 cents per kw/hr, you know something fishy is going on. Windsprawl is only a means for a select few to bilk tax dollars and grants while cashing in on RECs and RGGIs and whatever other wall street inventions might make them some serious cash. Contact the Citizens Task Force on Energy or the Friends of Lincoln Lakes. We have physics professors, doctors,etc who can explain in greater detail. I must say your article was well written but it is like putting lipstick on a pig.