Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Maine
What is an appropriate wind-power site? It is understandable that a disappointed wind-power developer would sing the song of sour grapes regarding the rejection of its proposed wind- power project on Black Nubble and the previous rejection of the larger Redington Mountain proposal. The suggestion that the citizen commissioners of LURC do not understand wind power and that they are basically incompetent to judge such projects is, of course, ludicrous.
With nearly 1,000 house lots and an even larger number of resort accommodations, Plum Creek's Moosehead Lake proposal stands as the largest development plan ever submitted to Maine regulators. Yet the 20,000 acres Plum Creek is seeking to rezone for development represent just 5 percent of the total acreage in the company's plan. The remaining 430,000 acres - covering an area nearly two-thirds the size of Rhode Island - would be protected permanently through a combination of conservation deals. ...The current plan has critics, however. ...The 266,000-acre "legacy" easement also would allow wind farms to be sited on the land with approval from both LURC and the easement holder. The wind farm provisions were inserted into the easement at the suggestion of AMC, which is already a major landowner in the Moosehead region. David Publicover, AMC's senior staff scientist, said many sites in the region likely would be inappropriate for wind farms because of impacts on scenery. But AMC has identified a number of sites on Plum Creek land that could be suitable for wind power, he said.
In separate decisions Monday, the Land Use Regulation Commission rejected one wind-power proposal but approved another that will be New England's largest wind installation. By a 4-2 vote Monday morning, the commission rejected Maine Mountain Power's 54-megawatt Black Nubble Wind Farm, which proposed 18 turbines on that Franklin County mountain. In the afternoon, the citizen board approved TransCanada's 132-megawatt Kibby Wind Power project, which calls for placing 44 turbines on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range, both in Franklin County. When constructed, that project will be the largest of its kind in New England, according to TransCanada. Together, the two decisions amount to a mixed bag for the state's fledgling wind industry.
Maine land use regulators voted unanimously to approve TransCanada's wind-power project in western Maine, but rejected a second poject by another group that had been scaled back after being turned down a year ago. The Land Use Regulation Commission voted to allow a 44-turbine project near the Canadian border in Franklin County, saying TransCanada Maine Wind Development's application answered its concerns that roads would be built properly, and birds and bats would be protected. Commissioners also said the developer's project would not present the same kind of intrusion on the highlands scenery as the project proposed by Maine Mountain Power, whose 18-turbine project south of TransCanada's was turned down by a 4-2 vote earlier in the day.
With Maine's spot as New England's largest generator of wind power already well-established, state regulators on Monday will consider two more projects that would produce enough clean power to keep the lights glowing and toasters cooking in more than 70,000 homes. ...Because the record was closed following last fall's hearings on the projects, no public testimony or comment will be accepted Monday, when the commissioners will essentially debate and discuss proposals. While Carroll said no vote is expected at Monday's public session, but a date could be set for a final decision.
Maine's love-hate relationship with wind power will face a big test Monday. Actually, a couple of them. Two wind farm proposals could face up-or-down votes by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, the zoning board for northern Maine. All bets are off about whether the projects are in for a warm hug or a cold shoulder. Both projects would be in the hills of Franklin County, and together they would double Maine's wind power capacity.
The wind in New England blows mainly against big green-energy projects. At least that's the assessment of Matt Kearns, an audibly frazzled project manager for Newton, MA-based UPC Wind. Despite winning final approval last week for the creation of New England's largest wind-energy installation, now under construction on a ridge in northern Maine, Kearns says the regulatory and political barriers to placing major cleantech facilities in the region are high enough to scare off all but the most persistent and well-funded entrepreneurs. "The uncertainty and the costs associated with that uncertainty are pretty overwhelming, frankly, in many cases," says Kearns, who has spent the last several years shepherding UPC's Stetson Mountain wind farm project past the cautious scrutiny of state, county, and federal agencies, not to mention local residents and environmental groups.
State regulators unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday to build New England's largest wind farm on a remote ridgeline in northern Washington County. ...Stetson Mountain is located in a sparsely populated area of Washington County's northernmost border with Penobscot County and Canada. It's a scenic area with rolling, heavily forested hills that help support the local timber industry. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and other forms of outdoor recreation are also an important part of both local culture and the regional economy. So UPC's proposal to build 38 wind turbines, each standing nearly 400 feet tall, has not gone over well with everyone. ...Opponents also raised concerns about noise from the turbines, which has been a problem for some homeowners near the Mars Hill farm.
Land Use Regulation Commission unanimously approved the zoning request for a 57-megawatt project on Stetson Mountain, a ridge line that stretches between Danforth and Springfield in northern Washington County. The applicant, Evergreen Wind Power, has already built the region's largest operating wind farm -- a 42-megawatt, 28-turbine project in Mars Hill, Maine, that started generating power earlier this year. Evergreen is a subsidiary of UPC Wind Management of Newton, Mass.
The company planning to put three electricity-generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge has explored adding more. Andy Price, project manager for Portland-based Competitive Energy Services, said his company explored the possibilities of adding more turbines with an abutting landowner. Price declined to specify whether that exploration will continue in the future. "At this point I want to leave it at the fact we have three turbines approved and we're looking forward to proceeding with that," Price said.
A controversial plan to erect an AM radio station on outer Broadway has prompted residents from both sides of Kenduskeag Stream to join forces in an effort to get the city to put a temporary halt on that project and others like it. The idea is to give the city some time to study the appropriateness of towers and turbines planned for the rural residence and agriculture districts.
The town's Board of Appeals has rejected the latest bid to halt construction of three electricity wind turbines on Beaver Ridge, though the ultimate decision on the project could be made by a Superior Court justice. The board voted unanimously on Sept. 12 to deny an appeal lodged by Steve Bennett, Erin Bennett-Wade and Jeff Keating, all of whom own land adjacent to the proposed site of the $10 million project.
Attorney's representing Portland-based Competitive Energy Service and Ron Price, who owns the Beaver Ridge property where the turbines would be built, spent nearly the first hour of the Board of Appeals meeting arguing that the board did not have the authority to hear the appeal and that two of the four members were biased against the project. ...Citing conflicting language in two ordinances, the board voted 3-0 (chairman Addison Chase abstained) to move forward with the hearing.
The latest appeal of a proposed wind project on Beaver Ridge is set to get an airing tonight. The Board of Appeals is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Congregational Church to hear arguments filed by Steve Bennett, Erin Bennett-Wade and Jeff Keating against Portland-based Competitive Energy Service's plan to erect three, 400-foot turbines.
The Board of Appeals also has scheduled meetings for Sept. 12 and 26 to continue the hearing process. In their appeal filed last month, the Bennetts and Keating argue that the turbines cannot be built without trespassing over private property and that the Competitive Energy failed to secure permission from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
FARMINGTON - The debate over wind power continued Friday as people wrangled over the need to develop sustainable renewable energy sources, conserve energy, preserve mountaintops, and where towering wind turbines would fit on Maine mountains, if they do.
AUGUSTA -- A smaller version of a wind farm proposal that generated a storm of controversy last year is slated to go to public hearings in September. The Black Nubble Wind Farm, which calls for 18 wind turbines on the western Maine mountain, will go before the public Sept. 19 and 20 and, if more time is needed, on Sept. 21 at the Sugarloaf Grand Summit Conference Center in Carrabassett Valley. That Black Nubble project is a smaller version of the Redington wind farm, which called for placing 30 turbines on both Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble.
TransCanada Energy Ltd. representatives and others gave a tour this week of the area targeted for a proposed $270 million wind farm in Kibby and Skinner townships. TransCanada has submitted a petition to the state Land Use Regulation Commission to rezone 2,908 acres to allow for a 44-turbine wind farm with access roads, transmission lines and other features. The hearing on the proposal is scheduled Oct. 2-4 at Sugarloaf/USA, TransCanada Project Manager Nick Di domenico said. Friends of the Boundary Mountains have filed for intervenor status to oppose the project, he said, while the Maine Audubon Society, Natural Resources Council of Maine and Appalachian Mountain Club have filed in favor of it.
FREEDOM - Landowners in the area of a proposed wind turbine development have filed another appeal to try and shut the project down. Steve Bennett, Erin Bennett-Wade and Jeff Keating argue in a letter filed to town officials this week that the company that seeks to install the turbines can only do so by trespassing over private property. "The decision of the (Code Enforcement Officer) and the planning board should therefore be reversed," the three wrote to the Board of Appeals.
LEE - Residents spoke for and against a $100 million wind farm being proposed for far eastern Maine when the Land Use Regulation Commission held its first public hearing on the project Tuesday. Evergreen Wind Power is seeking a zoning change to build 38 wind turbines on Stetson Mountain, a ridge line that runs about six miles along the border between northern Washington County and Penobscot County between Danforth and Springfield.