The 21-turbine Kingdom Community Wind Project in Lowell is generating more power as a result of grid upgrades that were completed last month.
That’s the word from the New England power grid operator, ISO New England, and the utility that owns the project, Green Mountain Power.
In the project’s first year of operation, it experienced frequent curtailments, which occur when ISO orders a project to reduce or halt power output when it could otherwise produce at a higher rate. The curtailments of the 64.5-megawatt project in Lowell were triggered mainly by the intermittent nature of the power resource combined with the weak transmission infrastructure in northern Vermont.
This cause for curtailment is different than the “Minimum Generation Emergency Warning” curtailments that wind plants across New England experienced Sunday. Those curtailments were caused by electricity supply exceeding demand.
In early September, Green Mountain Power raised the elevation of a power transmission line between Irasburg and Johnson. Dotty Schnure, spokesperson for GMP, said that this allowed the utility to increase the amount of power transmitted from the project because safety standards are lesser at higher elevations.
Stephen Rourke, vice president of system planning for ISO, said the result has been fewer curtailments.
“Since this work was finished there may have been some (curtailments), but they have been pretty minor,” he said last week.
Schnure said that GMP projected the turbines would generate 12,000 megawatt-hours.
“We were 500 megawatt-hours shy of the full projection,” she said. “The reduced curtailments began in early September. We did not have a full month without curtailment, but we narrowly missed our generation goal without curtailment.”
Schnure said GMP plans to complete construction in February of a synchronous condenser in Jay. This infrastructure is meant to even out voltage from energy generated at the wind plant. This improvement should further reduce curtailments, Schnure and Rourke said.