Mountain View Wind Project
For a number of years, I have been amazed of the “almost” non-stop winds that occur daily and year round on our hill which is located on Route 15 in Charleston where our two correctional facilities are located on approximately 72 acres. The U.S. Air Force had a Radar Station located at this site for many years, prior to the State taking over the location in 1980. The winds at facility level are almost constant let alone at the top of the hill, which has an elevation of 920 feet and looks directly at Mt. Katahdin. As a matter of fact, over the last year in our recreation yard out back, the wind has blown so strongly on a couple of occasions it blew the baseball dugout completely over!
In 2004, I started researching Alternative Energy programs and projects on the internet, as well as, reading articles in various magazines. Solar and wind power articles really got my attention and I just continued reading more, to see if it might be worth looking into for our location? I had subscribed to the magazine “Distributed Energy” and for the last couple of years have come across a number of very interesting articles pertaining to my research subject matter. Also, during this time the comments being made by staff were very positive and were encouraging me to continue with the fact finding process. The staff at the facility and within the department certainly knew about my interests with wind power, and was in agreement with my intentions.
A few months ago, I contacted Senator Susan Collin’s office and asked a few questions, just to make sure it was okay to continue with my interests. After a few conversations, it was determined as we were in a rural area which would qualify us, it would be fine to continue gathering information. Their office stated that if any additional assistance was required, to please let them know. After hearing this, I started to find out who I needed to contact, and find out what exactly needed to be done, and by whom as well as would the interest be there for this? This was a time consuming process, because it was relatively something new to us, but it did generate some discussions which eventually progressed. A couple of months ago, after receiving approval from Superintendent Eric Hansen to pursue this issue with the Department of Corrections Administration, Commissioner Martin Magnusson and his Associate Commissioner Denise Lord provided full support for this potential project. I then contacted a couple of referrals and then the Governor’s office. After several conversations with Karin Tilberg, senior advisor to the Governor, it was decided that the subject matter was considered very positive and certainly worth discussing with more appropriate state staff and their departments. On August 8, 2007 we had our first informal introductory meeting at the Governor’s office cabinet room which lasted for approximately an hour. Those present were from the Governor’s office, Bureau of General Services and the Department of Corrections. We were all in agreement that we would move forward with the process, which we later named the Mountain View Wind Project.
Again, with our location being so favorable and knowing the basic facts already, because we are here every day of the week and witness the weather, we should be able to save some serious money on our electricity usage, and may even be able to create an opportunity for some revenues. I would really like to be able to say that the Department of Corrections and our two most northern facilities ( Mountain View Youth Development Center and the Charleston Correctional Facility ) are part of an Alternative Energy solution and set an example for others to possibly follow. As a taxpayer, I would welcome any suggestions that could lead towards efficient and effective ways to do business, especially if it could help save money and be a “clean” way of doing it. I’m not sure how many other correctional facilities are doing this within the country, but it would be nice to become one of the first to start this kind of a project. We are already fairly self sufficient in most of our other areas such as; wells/water, waste treatment, wood heat, work crews, etc., so this could have the potential of making us even more complete and unique. This “Hill” was picked for a reason many years ago and now that we have an opportunity, we really need to take advantage of it. “The constant winds are almost a daily way-of-life up here.”
David Lovejoy, Deputy Superintendent
Maine Department of Corrections
Mountain View Youth Development Center
Charleston Correctional Facility
1182 Dover Road
Charleston, Maine 04422