A toxic Superfund mining site is repurposed as Vermont’s largest solar farm

On September 22, 2017, Greenwood Energy celebrated the opening of its newly-completed 7.0 MW DC Elizabeth Mine Solar project located in Strafford and Thetford, Vermont, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The project is built atop a 27-acre former copper mine that was declared a Superfund site in 2001 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Before, during and after at Elizabeth Mine Solar.
Images courtesy of Brightfields Development.

According to the EPA, Elizabeth Mine operated from the early 1800s through 1958. During that time, it produced over 3.25 million tons of ore.

It was once the largest copper producer in the United States. Development of the project to repurpose the mine for solar energy production began in 2010 by Wolfe Energy, which was later joined by Brightfields Development.

It takes a whole community, a state, to build a solar field on a Superfund site,” said Dori Wolfe of Wolfe Energy,. “This mine over the years has given so much to Strafford and Thetford and the state, and now (it will bring) a new tax base to the communities and state in a clean, renewable way.

Wolfe Energy worked with the EPA and the Vermont Natural Resources Agency to repurpose the site during the environmental remediation so that it would be compatible with later solar development. The result was a prime location for a solar project.

Greenwood Energy joined Wolfe Energy and Brightfields Development in 2015 to finish development, design and project contract negotiation, eventually purchasing the project outright to bring it into final construction.

Construction was undertaken by Conti Group beginning in late May 2017, and the project achieved mechanical completion in August 2017. The facility uses ballasted foundations so that it sits upon the remediation cap without disturbing the underlying ground.

It comprises 19,990 solar modules made by Hyundai and is expected to commence commercial operation in October 2017. Energy production and renewable energy certificates will be sold to Green Mountain Power under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Greenwood Energy is the international clean energy division of the Libra Group, a privately owned international business group comprising 30 subsidiaries active across six continents. Greenwood’s business interests span investment, development, and operation of utility-scale clean energy projects and technologies. The Libra Group is focused on aviation, hospitality, real estate, shipping and renewable energy as well as selected diversified investments. In addition to Greenwood’s clean energy interests in the Americas, Libra Group companies own and operate solar farms, wind parks, and biogas facilities throughout the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

Around 100 people attended at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to hear about the long-term development of the project, and to tour the site. Dori Wolfe lead the event and Greenwood Energy’s Stephen Campbell gave the closing remarks.

Featured photo courtesy of Greenwood Energy.

See Greenwood Energy website.

See Brightfields Development website for Elizabeth Mine Solar.

See Town of Strafford’s Energy Committee website.

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