The Fox Islands of North Haven and Vinalhaven, are two of only 15 remaining year-round island communities along the Maine coast. The sustainability of these communities is threatened by the high cost of energy, particularly electricity, with rates typically running at two to seven times the national average. In 2008, the Fox Islands Electrical Co-op Board of Directors created Fox Islands Wind, LLC to develop Maine’s first island community wind power project.
The project includes the installation of three 1.5 megawatt wind generating turbines which are expected to produce 11.6 megawatts of electricity annually, slightly more than the island’s current 10.5-megawatt annual demand.
Sebago Technics was engaged in mid-January 2009 to initiate topographic surveys, site design, geotechnical investigations and permitting of the facilities. Working with Cianbro Corporation and the project’s electrical engineers, Sebago Technics prepared plans for site construction including the access roads, crane pads and turbine sites.
Our design and permitting effort was completed on an aggressive schedule with initial applications filed to the Town of Vinalhaven and Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) in February 2009. Local Wind Power Facility approval, MDEP Stormwater and Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) approval were received and construction was initiated in June 2009.
When the turbines were commissioned and began generating power for the community in November 2009, the project became New England’s largest offshore wind facility and the largest community wind project on the East Coast.