Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Maine
Amid turbulence about the possibility of a wind energy project on top of Ragged Mountain, a citizen group has formed with the intention of stopping any further research into the possibility of placing turbines on the mountain.
Haven't we learned anything from Mars Hill and Vinalhaven about sound and human impacts? What kind of energy is really going to be produced to mitigate the impacts stated above? The applicant offered to put 1,000 acres into conservation. The 1,000 acres just happens to surround the turbines and roads. Gee, thanks. Concerns about this project need to be expressed to the DEP soon.
Developers of mountaintop industrial wind are touting many promised benefits - from reduced greenhouse gas emissions and decreased dependence on fossil fuels to a huge economic renaissance. These are all false promises spun to enhance public acceptance.
If the 1,800 turbines were constructed, as much as 50,000 acres of carbon-sequestering forest would have to be clear-cut. In addition, the turbines require electricity to run, which does not come from the turbines and must be generated on site by diesel generators or brought in on separate power lines. One study done in Colorado actually determined that wind power increased carbon emissions by 10 percent.
As an environmentalist, I have for decades supported a move away from our addiction to oil to more eco-friendly, renewable energy, including wind. However, when I hear the developers spin the tragic Gulf oil spill to justify their desire to use our tax dollars to destroy Maine mountaintops, with as many as 1,800 400-foot turbines spread over 360 miles, I am appalled by how this "justification" is so disingenuous.
People who want to stop average American citizens from exercising their right to "have a say" love to throw out the NIMBY tag, thinking it will shame those citizens into silence or make them look selfish; thereby turning public opinion against them. That's not how I see it.
If using a huge amount of real estate to generate a tiny amount of energy from an intermittent energy source sounds deranged, consider, too, that we haven't yet found the Holy Grail for storing wind-generated energy. Wind is either an instant energy snack or a famine. It must be used when it's there or immediately replaced when it isn't." Yikes.
As an active professional working to save Maine's mountaintops, I've met and have dealt with large groups who are opposed to improper siting of wind factories. We all agree that much larger and more efficient wind factories in the ocean beyond sight of shore, where wind is better and more reliable, makes more sense. To say we are against wind power is a falsehood. As to the sound problems that Aniel argues, the Maine Medical Association agrees with her, not Dr. Dora Anne Mills.
There are many reasons to oppose the Highland Wind Project -- environmental, economic and health-related -- but as much as anything, there is the loss. ...All other arguments aside, how could anyone support the loss we will all face if this area is industrialized?
Mr. Hall said General Electric told residents that from 1,000 feet away, the wind turbine noise would sound like a quiet conversation taking place in a living room. Instead, he described the turbines' sound as a "palpable experience," with rhythmic pulsations he can feel thumping in his chest as the blades turn. Other people interviewed in the film clips likened the turbines' whooshing sound to a jet airplane heard off in the distance.
My family has a long history with Yale. My great-grandfather was the first professor of German, my grandfather graduated in 1900, my father in 1938 and my brother in 1968. All of these relatives had - and those still living still do - a great affection for the Great North Woods of Maine. ...Now we are confronted, apparently as a result of Yale's desire for an ever larger endowment, with a proposal to build the largest grid scale industrial wind power plant ever in Maine in our backyard on the wild and scenic Highland Mountains.
Independence Wind, promised to not only bring Highland 340,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy, but also to pay for 90 percent of the plantation's taxes. Given the opportunity to lift what has become an ever-growing tax burden on Highland's population ...But by now, Highland is split down the middle over whether Independence Wind and its partners, Wagner Forest Management and landowner corporation Bayroot - which have been connected to Yale's investments in the past - will ruin Highland's mountains.
I am a sporting camp owner in the town of Highland Plantation. Our town is the site of a proposed industrial wind power facility. I am concerned about the future of the wildlands of Maine, as well as our town, since the number and scale of wind power proposals likely will affect all the mountains of Maine, leaving not a single place free of a view of 400-foot turbines.
Our governor is proposing emergency legislation mandating the installation of what would amount to thousands of wind turbines within three miles of our Maine coastline (L.D. 1810: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force). This has been referred to as "offshore" wind development. It is actually "near-shore" wind development that would displace fishermen and disturb the treasured views of Maine's fantastic coastline.
Now in 2010, TransCanada wants to expand the Kibby project and is proposing 15 turbines on Sisk Mountain, which overlooks the Chain of Ponds. To do this TransCanada wants to expand the already expedited area of Maine to include the portion of Sisk Mountain not yet within this "umbrella." TransCanada is petitioning to add another 630 acres to the expedited area, all of it overlooking Chain of Ponds, Big Island, and Massachusetts Bog.
A proposal to build Maine's largest wind complex in Highland Plantation, at the doorstep of the Bigelow Preserve and the Appalachian Trail, is under review by the Land Use Regulation Commission. Prior to 2008 changes in site laws, this project would have had slim chance of being permitted, given its proximity to important Maine scenic assets. Under the new law, it could slide through in a process that has been greatly abbreviated.
Recently Gov. John Baldacci scoffed at the Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power when we asked him to issue a moratorium on industrial wind power projects until adequate noise regulations are implemented. The Bangor Daily News backed Baldacci in an editorial titled "Wind Ban Wrong." The Feb. 25 piece did acknowledge how right we are on several wind power issues, yet it still concluded that giving the state time would be wrong. We disagree with this, with the conclusion that noise is our primary consideration and with the common assumption that wind power's supposed benefits outweigh its costs.
Voters at the annual town meeting have approved two moratoriums that will give the town time to develop ordinances to regulate communications towers and wind turbines. There has been commercial interest in such construction, particularly in communications towers, according to Code Enforcement Officer Judy Jenkins, and the town’s existing land use regulations include nothing to guide the siting of such structures.
In just under nine months, the residents of several Somerset county communities might see our beloved landscape and soundscape changed drastically for the remainder of our lives. Likewise, all the people of Maine could lose the scenic value of some of the state's finest natural treasures, and few even know of the threat. Under recently amended state laws, all could occur with little consideration to the wisdom or long term implications of such a move.
All one has to do is look at the impact of the Kibby TransCanada industrial wind operation in the remote boundary mountains of western Maine. This is nothing more than industrial wind mountaintop removal. It is being driven by dollars and cents, not ecological sense. To call mountaintop wind operations "farms" is nothing more than public relations. Farms suggest a positive relationship with the land.