Article

3 turbines proposed in Freedom

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 $10 million project proposed by Competitive Energy Services LLC would consist of three 260-foot towers, each outfitted with three-blade turbines. Each turbine blade would be 130 feet long and when it is vertical, the tip would be nearly 400 feet off the ground.

The project would produce 4.5 megawatts of electricity annually, said Sue Jones, a consultant working for Competitive Energy Services.

Jones and representatives of the energy firm met with Freedom selectmen and members of the planning board Wednesday night.

The wind power project is proposed for a 76-acre field owned by Ron and Sue Price of Knox. The Prices operate a dairy farm in the nearby town and use the field in Freedom to grow hay.

The land is on Sibley Road, off Palermo Road, in the southern part of Freedom, which has a population of about 750 people. The parcel is about 1,000 feet above sea level, Jones said.

Ron Price is the uncle of a CES employee and offered his land for the turbines. CES would enter into a 40-year lease with the Prices if the project wins approval, Jones said.

Construction would not begin until spring 2007, pending approvals and financing, she said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection would not review the project... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The $10 million project proposed by Competitive Energy Services LLC would consist of three 260-foot towers, each outfitted with three-blade turbines. Each turbine blade would be 130 feet long and when it is vertical, the tip would be nearly 400 feet off the ground.
 
The project would produce 4.5 megawatts of electricity annually, said Sue Jones, a consultant working for Competitive Energy Services.
 
Jones and representatives of the energy firm met with Freedom selectmen and members of the planning board Wednesday night.
 
The wind power project is proposed for a 76-acre field owned by Ron and Sue Price of Knox. The Prices operate a dairy farm in the nearby town and use the field in Freedom to grow hay.
 
The land is on Sibley Road, off Palermo Road, in the southern part of Freedom, which has a population of about 750 people. The parcel is about 1,000 feet above sea level, Jones said.
 
Ron Price is the uncle of a CES employee and offered his land for the turbines. CES would enter into a 40-year lease with the Prices if the project wins approval, Jones said.
 
Construction would not begin until spring 2007, pending approvals and financing, she said.
 
The state Department of Environmental Protection would not review the project unless wetlands or roads on steep slopes are part of the proposal, a staff person in the land bureau said Friday.
 
The relatively small footprint of the turbines does not trigger site plan review, he said.
 
Environmentalists have at times split on wind power. Most groups support the alternative energy in principle, but some groups have opposed individual projects.
 
A large wind power project has been proposed for Mars Hill in Aroostook County, and for mountains in Carrabassett Valley, Stratton and Rangeley. Those projects call for up to 30 towers and turbines in wind farms.
 
In Freedom, CES needs town approval, but not state or federal permits for the project, Jones said.
 
The Federal Aviation Administration will have oversight on lighting, she said.
 
At least one of the turbines must be lit, Jones said, and the company plans to use a daytime white strobe light and a nighttime red flashing strobe combined in a single flash head.
 
Someone standing near the turbines could hear them turn, Jones said. "There's a swishing sound as the blade comes around," she said, "but it's very quiet."
 
Newer technology used on wind turbines results in slow-moving blades, Jones said.
 
Steve Bennett, a selectman whose house is within a half-mile of where the turbines would be located, said about two dozen people turned out for the meeting with CES, including all of the selectmen and planning board members.
 
"This is a kind of project we've never seen before in Freedom," Bennett said.
 
The town has no comprehensive plan or zoning, but he expected the planning board would have jurisdiction over the project.
 
The proposal received a warm reception, Bennett said, especially the estimate by CES that its investment would mean the company would pick up about 25 percent of the property tax burden in town.
 
But questions remain, he said, such as whether the turbines and towers would be considered business equipment or real estate, and how much of the $10 million investment will go toward roads and extending three-phase power lines from Freedom village to the site.
 
Bennett believes the power lines and roads will not generate tax revenue.
 
About 15 houses are within a half-mile of where the turbines will be installed, he said.
 
"I'm keeping a very open mind about it. I believe in alternative energy," Bennett said.
 
At the same time, he noted the turbines would "permanently alter the look of that ridge," and wondered about "living beneath three blinking strobe lights."
 
Bennett, a retired high school teacher who runs investment and insurance businesses in Unity, said he has worked with an SAD 3 committee to investigate using a biomass heating plant in the new K-12 school the district is building. Many in the surrounding communities are sympathetic to alternative energy, he said.
 
Jones, who worked for the Natural Resources Council of Maine until last year, said that group supports the Mars Hill project. The Freedom proposal is in a different league from the Mars Hill project, she said.
 
"We think it's a good model for communities of this size," Jones said.
 
CES would negotiate an agreement with Central Maine Power to feed the electricity generated in Freedom into the grid.




Source: http://bangornews.com/news/...

MAR 4 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1557-3-turbines-proposed-in-freedom
back to top