A trio of New England companies has purchased the former Backscatter radar installation in Moscow, Maine with the intent of developing energy generating facilities onsite and creating leasable business space. Conroy Development Corporation and Jay Cashman, Inc., both of Massachusetts, and Cianbro of Pittsfield, Maine have joined as partners in the venture. The former installation includes approximately 1,300 acres, about 30,000 square feet of buildings, a substation, and a power line that services the site.
"The town of Moscow has been extremely supportive of the communications we've had now for several years, and really are interested in exploring ways to generate electricity on site, the first of which could be wind power," said Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue.
The site has many advantages for generating electricity. For example, the property is located in a remote area that will not disrupt the local viewshed. There are access roads already in place, and the power line and substation are conveniently located for energy generation. "So, this should not be a situation where we're going to have to disrupt anybody's quality of life," said Vigue.
In addition, there are opportunities for the buildings onsite that are potentially attractive to certain types of businesses. There is isolation, which means good security. There is also a good supply of electricity which would be readily available for firms that require plenty of energy -- to run large servers, for example. According to Vigue, there is also the likelihood of cheaper electricity bills for tenants at the site, since onsite generation would require little in the way of transmission costs.
Meanwhile, citizens in Moscow have expressed excitement at the sale of the former installation. The three partners met with Moscow's Board of Selectmen on April 5th, at which time the officials expressed optimism about the sale of the site and the prospects for future development. The town now has the potential to expand the local tax base in a significant way. The development also offers the promise of local employment. Jobs would come both in terms of temporary construction work, as well as permanent positions brought about by oversight of the generation facilities, and employment offered by business tenants at the site. At the same time, the partners will have an opportunity to earn revenue from the sale of electricity to the grid, leasing business properties to tenant companies, and constructing the generating facilities.
"We are happy to have the property on the tax books, and happy to have someone up there that's going to do something with the installation," said Moscow Selectman Elvin Hawes. "We've been waiting for something good to happen up there ever since the installation was shut down, and now we're very excited about the economic opportunities that are on the horizon. That's in contrast to what we've seen in recent years -- vandalism at the site, and a slow decline to the point where the property was becoming decrepit."
Selectman Mike Staples added, "I think the people in town are very excited about the purchase, in anticipation of having something that will help our economy."
"So this is why we enjoy the collaborative relationship, and the ability to work together to develop this," said Vigue. "It'll be good for the community."Click here to download aerial photograph.