READSBORO, Vt. — Construction is underway on an $80 million wind power project in the southern Vermont towns of Searsburg and Readsboro.

The 15-turbine project is being developed in the Green Mountain National Forest by Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables.

It is the first large-scale commercial wind project in the country on U.S. Forest Service land. Planning for the project began 12 years ago.

Avangrid Renewables’ Tim Seck said Monday they’ll pay more than $6.8 million in taxes to Searsburg and Readsboro and more than $6 million to the state.

WCAX-TV (http://bit.ly/2cOl2fT ) reports a couple dozen protesters were also at the ground-breaking to voice their opposition to the 80-acre project. Steve Wright of Craftsbury says wind power is inefficient, expensive and does nothing to fight climate change.