Jiminy Gets Nod For Turbine

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SAM Magazine - Hancock, Ma, May 7, 2007 - Massachusetts resort Jiminy Peak has received final approvals to install a $3.9 million GE wind turbine on the ski mountain and construction is expected to commence this summer. The project should be completed by August.

The turbine is slated for the western side of the mountain, 350 feet below the summit, and is expected to generate 1.5 million kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy--about 33 percent of the total electricity consumption of the resort, enough to light up the TVs, DVDs, microwaves and refrigerators in 400 homes for a year.

The project, spearheaded by Jiminy Peak president and CEO Brian Fairbank, is complex. The three 122-foot blades were shipped to Port of Albany, N.Y., from Brazil. The blades are as long as a 12-story building is high and GE's patented adjusting blade technology enables them to maximize the output of electricity. For the installation, one smaller crane is being assembled at the resort to construct one massive 420-foot crane that will lift the blades, the three-piece 253-foot tower, and the nacelle (generator housing). At 50 tons the nacelle alone is about as heavy as a loaded cement truck and is too massive for anything but a crane.

By using the wind turbine, and introducing other energy conservation efforts at the resort, Jiminy expects to reduce its energy dependence by almost 50 percent on the first day the turbine is turned on, and the turbine is expected to pay for itself within seven years.

"There was no 'road map' that private businesses could follow to generate their own wind energy. We learned as we went along, knowing that it was the right thing to do to reduce spiraling energy costs while making our little corner of Western Massachusetts a bit greener," says Fairbank. "By 2010, when we've fully documented the benefits of wind energy, we hope more ski areas will think globally and act locally by considering the cost savings that are literally blowing in the wind."

Fairbank adds, "we intend to prove that using a renewable resource like this will be an option for any energy intensive business looking to reduce their impact on global warming."

In order to get the public involved, Jiminy is also running a contest called, "Name that turbine." The individual who comes up with the winning name will receive a 2007-08 season's ski/snowboard pass to Jiminy Peak, a pewter model of the wind turbine, and VIP treatment at the wind turbine dedication, tentatively set for "Windsday," Aug. 15, 2007. \