264,000-lb turbine for N.H. biomass plant on its way

Wednesday December 5, 2012

BERLIN, N.H. (AP) -- A giant turbine and generator are making their way to northern New Hampshire for a biomass plant expected to start operating next year.

The 264,000-pound turbine is expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon at the Burgess BioPower site in Berlin. It left Searsport, Maine, on Monday on a 74-wheel, 175-foot transporter. The generator ups the total weight of the equipment to about 510,000 pounds.

The state Department of Transportation said the transports will use U.S. Route 2 and state Route 16 and move up to 25 mph. State and local police and fire departments are assisting with the moves, which will cause some traffic delays.

The $275 million biomass power plant is expected to generate power by late 2013. It is expected to create more than 400 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs.

It’s estimated that the plant will contribute $25 million annually to the North Country economy. Supporters of the plant say it will help resuscitate industry in the area, creating work for foresters, loggers and haulers who would provide wood fuel for it.

The plant is being built on the site of a defunct Fraser Paper pulp mill, which closed in 2006. The closing of the 100-year-old mill left many people out of work and Berlin without a main industry.

A ceremony marking the start of construction of the biomass plant was held last October.

Besides the biomass plant, city officials are hoping the recent opening of a federal prison will help revive the economy


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