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UMPI featured at Maine Wind Energy Conference

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The University of Maine at Presque Isle and its 600 kW wind turbine were featured prominently at the 2011 Maine Wind Energy Conference, titled Maine's Wind Energy Future: New Opportunities, New Challenges, which was held on Jan. 24-25 at the Augusta Civic Center.

UMPI President Don Zillman served as a keynote speaker and also delivered a presentation on UMPI's wind turbine during a breakout conference session. In addition, the film Wind 101, which tells the story of UMPI's wind turbine project, was shown on the last morning of the conference.

The second annual statewide conference, which focused on the most current issues facing wind development and generation in Maine, served as a "one-stop shop" to learn about how wind energy fits into Maine's energy goals and policy missions, and about the challenges that it faces as Maine strives to become the Northeast leader in wind electricity production, according to the conference's website.

President Zillman delivered the keynote address during lunch on Jan. 24, taking a worldwide view on the need to move beyond the carbon economy with renewable energy and energy efficiencies.

Later that day, President Zillman participated in a conference session focused on the theme Keeping and Reaping the Local Benefits of Wind Power, which was facilitated by Jennifer Puser with the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security. The President's presentation was titled University of Maine at Presque Isle's Medium-Scale Wind Turbine and Curriculum, One Year Later: How it is Growing Expertise, Skills and Awareness.

On the second day of the conference, officials showed the film Wind 101 during a session focused on the theme Developing Small, Medium, and "Small Scale Commercial" Community Wind Projects. The half-hour long film, directed by local videographer and filmmaker Frank Grant and narrated by long-time theater professor Joseph Zubrick, follows the step-by-step process it took for the University to complete a major renewable energy project – from the very first energy survey to the very last installation detail – and the bumps encountered along the way. The film also shows the work the University has done to turn the project into an educational opportunity for its students and the greater community.

The University's 600 kW wind turbine, which began spinning in the late spring of 2009, is the very first mid-size wind turbine to be installed on a university campus in the State of Maine.

"The UMPI wind turbine is Maine's largest community wind project," President Zillman said. "It approaches the scale of commercial wind projects, but the primary use of its electricity is on campus. Excess electricity is provided to the local utility with a credit to our power bill. One of the most attractive results of the project has been its stimulation of educational programs in renewable energy and its role as a community resource for persons interested in renewables. I was pleased to share details about this important project with those who attended the wind conference."