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Official Wind Turbine Commissioning Ceremony to be held May 14

Monday, 04 May 2009

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host a special ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 14 in the Campus Center to officially commission its 600 kW wind turbine - the very first midsize wind turbine to be installed on a University campus in the State of Maine. The public is invited to attend this special event.

The University's Wind Turbine Commissioning Ceremony will be held just two days before the University hosts its 100th Commencement Exercises and just two years after University officials announced their intentions to move forward on installing a wind turbine on campus.

The commissioning event will include remarks by local and state officials and a short presentation to explain how the University's wind turbine will transform wind into electricity and how that electricity will get from the turbine to the campus buildings it will power. The event will then move outside to the wind turbine site where a formal commissioning ceremony will be held.

"This has been such an exciting time for us at the University of Maine at Presque Isle as we have watched the turbine assembly and counted down the days until our wind turbine starts spinning," President Don Zillman said. "We are extremely proud to be stepping forward as a statewide leader in the utilization of wind as a renewable energy resource with this project and look forward to attaining our major goals of reducing our carbon footprint, lowering our energy bill, and serving our educational and community roles as a public university. We welcome everyone to come and be a part of this historic turbine commissioning event."

The University's wind turbine is expected to produce about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and save the institution more than $100,000 annually in electricity charges. It is expected to save an estimated 572 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year, or the equivalent of removing 123 cars from the road.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle announced its intentions to move forward on a wind turbine project two years ago, on May 3, 2007. After securing the proper permits and completing contract negotiations, the University signed an agreement with Lumus Construction, Inc. to build the turbine.

Construction work on the $2 million project began on Nov. 19, 2008. Foundation work was completed during the winter, and in late February 2009, the tower parts, which were manufactured in North Dakota, began arriving. On April 15, the blades, hub and nacelle - manufactured in Chennai, India - were delivered, and in just 4 days, the turbine was completely assembled. Crews are now completing interior equipment installation, electrical hook-up work, and diagnostic tests, and the turbine is expected to begin spinning in mid-May.

To view photos, videos and more details about the University's wind project, visit www.umpi.edu/wind. For information about the Wind Turbine Commissioning event, call the Media Relations Office at 768-9452.