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Wind turbines proposed for Sugarloaf area

Group organizer Dain Trafton of Phillips said he believes the wind farm's output is not large enough to justify marring one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Northeast. "It would constitute, if it were built, an industrial intrusion into a mountain area," he said.

The owner of a southern Maine company says he has applied to build 30 wind turbines just west of Sugarloaf Mountain.

The wind-power project, which is expected to face opposition, would generate enough energy to power 44,000 homes a year.

The $130 million proposal from Maine Mountain Power is a joint venture of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth and California-based Edison Mission Group. It calls for 12 turbines on the Redington Pond Range and 18 on the Black Nubble Mountains, about four miles west of Sugarloaf.

Harley Lee, who owns Endless Energy, said the 90-megawatt plan has been in the works for more than a decade.

If approved, the wind farm could be built in as little as one construction season, Lee said. The venture's 1,600-page proposal has been filed with the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), he said.

The turbines would be visible from the Sugarloaf ski area and parts of the Appalachian Trail, but the company claims surveys have shown most visitors won't find them offensive. A group called Friends of the Western Mountains has collected the signatures of about about 2,000 people opposed to the project.

Group organizer Dain Trafton of Phillips said he believes the wind farm's... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The owner of a southern Maine company says he has applied to build 30 wind turbines just west of Sugarloaf Mountain.

The wind-power project, which is expected to face opposition, would generate enough energy to power 44,000 homes a year.

The $130 million proposal from Maine Mountain Power is a joint venture of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth and California-based Edison Mission Group. It calls for 12 turbines on the Redington Pond Range and 18 on the Black Nubble Mountains, about four miles west of Sugarloaf.

Harley Lee, who owns Endless Energy, said the 90-megawatt plan has been in the works for more than a decade.

If approved, the wind farm could be built in as little as one construction season, Lee said. The venture's 1,600-page proposal has been filed with the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC), he said.

The turbines would be visible from the Sugarloaf ski area and parts of the Appalachian Trail, but the company claims surveys have shown most visitors won't find them offensive. A group called Friends of the Western Mountains has collected the signatures of about about 2,000 people opposed to the project.

Group organizer Dain Trafton of Phillips said he believes the wind farm's output is not large enough to justify marring one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Northeast.

"It would constitute, if it were built, an industrial intrusion into a mountain area," he said.

Alix Pratt, who co-chairs the conservation committee of the Appalachian Mountain Club's Maine chapter, said the group had not yet taken a stance on the wind project. Club members sympathize with the need to develop alternative energy sources, she said, but they are also concerned about protecting the region's views.

"It's certainly controversial," Pratt said.

Lee said he hopes recent energy-market volatility will sway some wind-power critics. The power would be sent to the New England regional grid, which depends on natural gas and nuclear power for the majority of its needs.

"Our current energy systems are not sustainable. We have to make changes," he said.

A number of studies, including radar tracking of area bird and deer patterns, prove the project would not have the catastrophic effect on the surrounding biology some have suggested - but those reports are unlikely to sway hard-core opponents, he said.

Endless Energy was founded in 1987 and operates one wind turbine in Orland. The Yarmouth company has owned the Redington Pond parcel since 1998, and the mountain parcel for about two years.

Maine has no major wind farms. There are currently four in the works - Lee's, one in the Boundary Mountains, north of Eustis, and two in Aroostook County. Only one, a proposed wind farm project in Mars Hill, has the necessary permits to become a reality

Source: http://pressherald.mainetod...

DEC 19 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/756-wind-turbines-proposed-for-sugarloaf-area
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