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A check-in with Maple Ridge wind farm

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Iberdrola is one of the owners of the Maple Ridge wind farm on the Tug Hill Plateau. With 195 turbines spanning miles of ridgeline, it's the largest wind farm in the East. Bill Moore is an energy consultant for Iberdrola. Starting in the late 1990s, Moore was the man who went door-to-door to persuade local residents to welcome wind power. Today the project has been producing electricity for almost three years. David Sommerstein asked Bill Moore how it's been going. They talk about megawatts, bird and bat mortality, and the vicious debate over wind power in the North Country.

Since their conversation, the New York Times reported that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down sometimes because regional electric lines have been too congested to send the power downstate. Moore wouldn't talk about the article on tape. But he did confirm that Maple Ridge has had to shut down its turbines "about half a dozen times a year." Moore said that happens during the spring and fall, when electricity demand is lowest. He said as more wind farms come online in Clinton and Jefferson Counties, the problem could get worse. He agreed with the basic premise of the Times story, that wind energy is hampered by "insufficient grid capacity" to deliver electricity from where the wind blows to where the most people are.

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