The first massive blade rolled out of the Burlington rail yard at 3:01 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Though most everyone up early in the dark were helping with transportation logistics, a few brave souls showed up to watch the early morning show.
"I think this is great to see the blades that are going to be powering the turbines that are going to be powering Burlington. The energy for the project is going to the City of Burlington -- fun occasion to come down and see it happen," said Doug Goldsmith, who works for AllEarth Renewables, a company backing the Georgia Mountain wind project.
One by one the 150-foot blades rolled down the road toward Georgia Mountain but had a close call just one block into the trip, trying to turn right from Battery Street onto Main.
"The fear was that they'd damage the windmill and potentially we had to remove some limbs or trees -- but we did not have to," said Brian Sullivan with the Burlington Parks & Recreation Department.
With their army of escorts, the shark fin-esque blades slithered slowly through the pre-dawn, city streets and onto I-89. Unable to navigate the sharp turn on the northbound onramp, the drivers opted to head south to Williston first, where the turn to head north is easier. Another obstacle came later in the journey as the trailer made contact with a guardrail on route 128 in Fairfax. The guardrail twisted up in many sections, damaging the trailer's fenders. A tire change was also needed. The blade was undamaged and the Department of Motor Vehicles is investigating.
The 10 megawatt project, when completed, will be plug into the Burlington Electric grid and is expected to power about 42-hundred homes.
"I think this project means renewable energy, long term stably-priced energy and it means jobs in Vermont," Goldsmith said.
Georgia Wind is a local company and has employed other locals, from financing to construction to transport. Though not everyone is on board with the project, for Goldsmith, the local angle is an idea he supports. "The construction workers, as I understand, are Vermonters and it's creating energy locally that's being able to provide power to Burlington as opposed to buying it from other places," he said.
The project is expected to be up and running by the end of 2012.
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