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Energy answers blowing in wind in Freedom?

FREEDOM (March 13): Three wind turbines will sit atop Beaver Ridge in Freedom and quietly generate enough “clean” electricity to serve 2,000 households by the end of next year, if all goes according to plan.

Competitive Energy Systems met with town selectmen, the planning board and a handful of Freedom residents last week to answer questions about the $10 million project proposed for property owned by Knox resident Ron Price. Another public information session is planned, but has not yet been scheduled.

Jay Guber, code enforcement officer for Freedom, said neighbors whose property abuts the Price property on Beaver Ridge have been notified of the wind energy project proposal through registered mail. They also received an information packet on the project, said Guber.

According to Guber, the only permit required for the project is a building permit. If a permit is granted, construction will begin next year, according to Richard Silkman, a managing partner of the Portland-based company.

Price, who owns Craneland Dairy Farm on Knox Ridge, agreed to lease a small portion of his Beaver Ridge property in Freedom to CES for 40 years. The agreement, said Price, is a way to keep his land from being developed into house lots and to generate substantial tax revenue for the town through an energy technology that is clean, quiet and renewable.

Maine Renewable Energy, an offshoot of CES, currently provides nonpolluting... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Competitive Energy Systems met with town selectmen, the planning board and a handful of Freedom residents last week to answer questions about the $10 million project proposed for property owned by Knox resident Ron Price. Another public information session is planned, but has not yet been scheduled.
 
Jay Guber, code enforcement officer for Freedom, said neighbors whose property abuts the Price property on Beaver Ridge have been notified of the wind energy project proposal through registered mail. They also received an information packet on the project, said Guber.
 
According to Guber, the only permit required for the project is a building permit. If a permit is granted, construction will begin next year, according to Richard Silkman, a managing partner of the Portland-based company.
 
Price, who owns Craneland Dairy Farm on Knox Ridge, agreed to lease a small portion of his Beaver Ridge property in Freedom to CES for 40 years. The agreement, said Price, is a way to keep his land from being developed into house lots and to generate substantial tax revenue for the town through an energy technology that is clean, quiet and renewable.
 
Maine Renewable Energy, an offshoot of CES, currently provides nonpolluting electricity from hydropower and some wind power.
 
A church-based group, Maine Interfaith Power and Light, approached CES several years ago seeking sources of renewable clean energy. MeIPL, which was founded in 2000, has a mission “to purchase electric power that has the least possible adverse effect on this fragile earth — our island home.” In that role, MeIPL markets the green energy produced by MRE.
 
The Beaver Ridge wind turbines would double the number of Maine households that could buy nonpolluting electricity.
 
The Beaver Ridge project idea hatched over Thanksgiving dinner.
 
“My nephew, Andy Price, works at CES, and they had evidently received [many] inquiries about ‘green’ power,” said Price. “About a year ago, they asked if they could put an anemometer up there. I said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’”
 
An anemometer measures wind speed. CES wanted to know if the ridge was windy enough to generate sufficient power. After measuring wind speed for 18 months, Silkman said they decided it was.
 
“We’ve been looking for sites for a long time,” said Silkman. “The problem is the best spots, economically, are mountain tops and islands, and for aesthetic reasons people don’t want them there.”
 
Another consideration was how controversial large “wind farms” had become. CES decided to take a different tack: look for places where a handful of wind turbines could be installed that would not change the character of the community. The increase in the cost of liquefied natural gas and electricity, and a change in wind turbine technology, made it economically worthwhile to look at less-controversial sites, such as Knox Ridge.
 
The footprint of each wind turbine will be 15 feet in diameter, with no guy wires attaching the structure to the ground. The turbines stand 250 feet high and the blades measure 130 feet in length, for an overall height of just under 400 feet.
 
CES will pay any construction and maintenance costs, including upgrading and maintaining the end of the discontinued town road. Under the lease agreement with CES, Ron Price will receive a percentage of the profits.
 
And what will those profits be?
 
“We wouldn’t discuss that at this point,” said Silkman. “But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think it would pay off.”
 
The current standard rate of electricity generated by a combination of nuclear, coal and oil is 8.384 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the Central Maine Power website. The standard rate is what consumers pay if they buy their electricity through Central Maine Power, unless they designate another electricity company to CMP. CMP acts as the conduit for electricity, but does not generate electricity.
 
The current rate for electricity generated from nonpolluting and low-impact sources, as MeIPL describes them, is currently 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. With increases in the cost of fossil fuels and in wind technology, that price is likely to become more competitive, according to Maine Renewable Energy.
 
According to MeIPL website, every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity generated from renewable sources keeps 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
 
For more information on “green” energy available in Maine, visit meipl.org


Source: http://waldo.villagesoup.co...

MAR 13 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1679-energy-answers-blowing-in-wind-in-freedom
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