Articles filed under General from Maine
The Board of Environmental Protection plans to hold hearings on the noise issues surrounding the construction and operation of wind turbines for all proposed wind projects sometime in May. Action on the Carthage proposal had originally been set for April.
With no discussion and a quick unanimous vote, residents approved a moratorium of 180 days on wind energy facility development to give time for a committee and selectmen to draft an ordinance to regulate commercial wind power development. Currently, no plans for development have been submitted.
Not one of the approximately 70 people in Smith Memorial Hall opposed adopting the ordinance. The ordinance is similar to those adopted in other towns across Maine. Wind-energy projects have to meet local rules and gain town Planning Board approval to move forward.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday they have issued a conditional $102 million loan guarantee to cover a portion of the cost of constructing the Record Hill LLC wind project. ...The loan guarantee is in addition to an anticipated $70 million from the U.S. taxpayer in the form a Section 1603 cash grant.
While plans for a major wind farm project in northern Hancock County work their way through the permitting process, towns in the western part of the county are developing ordinances that regulate the construction of both wind turbines.
Voters at Monday's annual town meeting will consider a request to place a six-month moratorium on any wind-power project in Temple to give the community time to draft an ordinance regulating such facilities.
It's now up to residents whether to approve a tax incentive plan to aid a commercial wind farm and create a fund for economic development projects in town.
The Department of Environmental Protection's public meeting on the proposed 12-turbine industrial wind project for Saddleback Ridge in Carthage will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, at Dirigo High School in Dixfield.
Presson said the project coordinator, Tom Carroll, attended a few meetings of the school's Parents-Teachers Association, and asked if there was anything the company could do to work with the community. ..."We'd be happy to help out, basically, if we can go forward with our wind project for Woodstock this spring," Presson said.
The industry is trying to assert the value of commercial wind energy in the face of growing criticism from vocal, well-organized opponents. The jump in petroleum prices is providing new talking points for advocates ...But that argument, and the economic benefits Colgan cited, overlook the high cost to taxpayers and electric ratepayers, according to Chris O'Neil, a spokesman for Friends of Maine's Mountains.
It became clear to committee members Monday that their first task is to take the time to explore the options, Kimber said Tuesday. Seeking a moratorium on development for the next few months would allow the committee to work "without being under the gun," he said.
Selectmen on Thursday scheduled a workshop on a wind turbine ordinance, which will go to voters in June. The workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 24. Board members discussed whether to have an ordinance similar to one developed by a special wind ordinance committee last year, or to follow Maine State Planning Office regulations on such development.
After sitting through a grueling public hearing last week, at which more than 100 people testified, and sifting through 1,500 pages of documents submitted both pro and con on building two large municipal wind turbines off Freemans Way, the planning board Wednesday night wrestled with whether the project conformed to conditions laid out in the municipal turbine bylaw.
Some of the biggest applause on Saturday was for Wendy Todd, who along with her husband has traveled throughout the state talking about how the Mars Hill wind project has affected her neighborhood. ..."We are tired but we are here and we are not going to grow weary in doing what is good," Todd told the group.
In the permit application filed with the town, it appears the wires are described as passing alongside the existing Central Maine Power Company utility wires. But in the application filed with the Land Use Regulation Commission, it's clear the wires deviate from the existing CMP lines. Erik Stumpfel, an attorney for Highland Wind from the firm Eaton Peabody, confirmed the developer intends to not follow the CMP corridor exactly.
Cassida said DEP now requires developers to make demonstrations during the length of the project to determine sound level compliance, which they didn't do with the Mars Hill project. In that 2001 project, DEP OK'd a variance to 50 decibels without realizing that it would adversely affect people. "If I could turn back time, I'd require that we do that differently," he said.
Members of the town Wind Turbine Ordinance Committee and residents gained insight Wednesday night into how state regulations govern wind farms. They also learned that should they develop an ordinance that's more restrictive than Maine Department of Environmental Protection permitting rules for such development, if the two compare apples to apples, DEP will apply the stricter regulations when considering a developer's application.
Voters will decide on a wind energy moratorium at their March 7 town meeting. The moratorium would give the town time to prepare an ordinance to cover any potential development of wind farm projects. A committee of about a dozen residents formed Monday to discuss how to handle potential future projects in a way that best protects the town.
"I want to encourage the town to make it a little stricter and adapt a 30-decibel limit," Knapp said. He cited the examples of noise complaints at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven's wind power turbine projects. And, he noted that the town of Phillips, which passed at last town meeting a comprehensive wind power zoning ordinance that, in part, was guided by a sound engineer's study and advice, has a noise limit set at 25 decibels."
"One has to wonder if this was a truly nonpartisan independent group that was working on behalf of lowering energy costs," said Levinthal, "or if this was a political vehicle for the Democratic Party. "If an organization such as this is stacked with people who are clearly very active in one party and members of a certain party, you might be scratching your head if you're a Republican or independent as well."