Wendy and Perrin Todd knew what would happen to their view of Mars Hill Mountain when crews starting erecting wind towers near their backyard.
They braced themselves when their home, newly built on the north side of the mountain, shook because of the blasting.
But what shocked them — and what they said this week they should not be expected to live with — is the noise.
“They turned on tower Number 9, and almost immediately it made enough noise that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that can’t be right,’” Wendy Todd said.
“It all depends on the wind speed and direction, but the best way to describe it is you step outside and look up thinking there’s an airplane. It’s like a high-range jet, high-low roar, but with the windmills, there’s a sort of on and off ‘phfoop … phfoop … phfoop’ noise.”
It seems few in this town of about 1,500 people can agree on UPC Wind Management’s newly completed $85 million project, which makes the unassuming potato-growing and truck-brokerage community home to New England’s largest wind farm.
But there’s one thing everybody can agree on: The place sure looks different.
Long before a visitor arrives at Mars Hill, the towers become visible along what used to be just another mountain. The total height from the ground to the tip of the blade is 389 feet. Each tower has three blades, which spin in winds whipping west to east toward Canada just a few miles away.
New England Energy Alliance Survey Finds Consumer Concern about Future Electricity Supplies, Desire to Choose Electricity Supplier and Support for Addressing Global Warming
If New England's nuclear energy plants had to be replaced by other non-emitting sources of electricity to meet the RGGI goals, the region would be looking at large-scale wind projects, with weather-dependent output, spread over some 650,000 acres of land or water at a cost of more than $10 billion.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has conditionally approved Central Maine Power's proposed $14 million upgrade of transmission lines to handle electricity from incoming wind farms.
Turbine fires have been known to start forest fires, according to the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations in Europe, which in September 2012 released a document of best practices and guidelines of how to handle fires at wind farms.
The European document warns that these type of forest fires can be difficult to extinguish.
Politicians, scientists and policymakers seek to put Maine at the forefront of an energy revolution powered by world-class wind power blowing against the state's entire coast.
The Ocean Energy Task Force, convened by Gov. John Baldacci, held its first meeting last week to begin the work of determining how the Atlantic Ocean might power homes, businesses and transportation in Maine and beyond.
Regarding the three-page petition, based on legal advice, Touchette said the board had to accept it. However, he added, the petition doesn't demand a revote of the March 3 town meeting ordinance amendment vote that OK'd the creation of a wind farm district.
Essentially, the petition is a proposed land-use ordinance that seeks to ban wind power development in Roxbury as of March 3 until the town can create and adopt zoning and land-use ordinances.
It requires planners to regulate wind power development "to minimize its deleterious effects on public health, safety and welfare." ..."We've also been advised to do a revote on the (March 3) ordinance, because there were a few gray areas involved," Touchette said. "We had a public informational meeting instead of a public hearing.
I thought the people in the town deserved to be heard. So it was a conscious choice -- I decided the film was from the point of view of the town. We do show footage of their promo videos, because that's the information the town had access to. Even now, wind companies hire people to hand out leaflets at screenings of the film, but they won't come to the Q&As.
Members of Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission gave tentative approval Wednesday to a 19-turbine wind farm in rural Hancock County, but the project faces some obstacles before a final vote next month.
Two utilities on Tuesday proposed $1.9 billion worth of electric infrastructure improvements to ensure reliability of the existing power grid as well as to connect northern Maine to the New England power grid for the first time. ...A study has indicated that the existing power grid serving CMP customers will no longer operate reliably beyond 2012 without the improvements, Burns said.
Meanwhile, residents of northern Maine have not enjoyed the potential fruits of electric deregulation because Maine Public Service Co. is not connected to the rest of the New England power grid.
The [land use regulation] commission will decide whether to accept a staff recommendation to reject Maine Mountain Power's proposal to put 30 wind turbines on Black Nubble Mountain and Redington Pond Range in Franklin County. At the same meeting, the commission will also decide whether to accept a staff recommendation to reopen the record to consider a much smaller version of he same project with 18 turbines on Black Nubble only.
FREEDOM -- Town officials are considering a 430-mile round trip bus ride to Hull, Mass., to get a better idea of what their town would look like with three wind turbines spinning on Beaver Ridge.
After a few dozen residents stated Monday night that they had not been given ample opportunity to review a proposed wind farm ordinance, town officials agreed to schedule another public information session on the proposal for next month.
FREEDOM - A Portland-based energy broker wants to install three wind turbines on a ridge in this western Waldo County town that would provide enough electricity to power 2,000 houses.
The statute allows for industrial wind projects to be fast-tracked through the state permitting process in exchange for project proponents' providing tangible benefits for their host communities, which, besides tax revenue, could include everything from scholarships to community parks.
The law, Blake said, "has essentially opened the floodgates to this industry, ruining the landscape of rural Maine from New Hampshire to Canada."
A 14-turbine industrial wind site called Passadumkeag Wind Park proposed for Passadumkeag Mountain would directly overlook Soponac and West lakes, state officials say.
About 50 residents turned out Tuesday night at the town office to hear about the permitting review process that First Wind expects to go through to get approval to erect wind turbines here and in neighboring Township 16.
How many turbines would be erected and exactly where they will be has not been determined.
The fate of a proposed wind tower project for Roxbury will be at stake at a special town meeting this June.
Several citizens pressed the selectmen to have the special town meeting as soon as possible at a selectmen's meeting on May 8. On March 27, the Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury submitted a petition asking for a 180-day moratorium on the wind towers. The selectmen approved the petition on April 11. ...The town meeting will take place on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.
Sitting at his kitchen table, Staton unfolded a recent column from The Wall Street Journal. It was about how T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire energy investor, had backed away from wind investments in favor of natural gas.
"Common sense tells me that this country is subsidizing anything that says ‘green,' and if it wasn't for the subsidy, wind wouldn't work," he said.