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Frankfort gives wind developer cold shoulder

Article 8 would have authorized selectmen to issue a resolution in support of the proposed project qualifying for a state-administered renewable energy program. As soon as the article was read aloud by moderator Norris Staples, a motion was made and seconded to pass the article over. "That means take no action," noted Staples.

Frankfort - An article on the warrant at Frankfort's annual town meeting Friday, March 25, seeking the town's support - in spirit, not in cash - for a proposed multi-turbine wind energy project atop Mount Waldo didn't get much backing from the residents in attendance.

Article 8 would have authorized selectmen to issue a resolution in support of the proposed project qualifying for a state-administered renewable energy program. As soon as the article was read aloud by moderator Norris Staples, a motion was made and seconded to pass the article over.

"That means take no action," noted Staples.

The article was on the warrant because of a proposal by New Hampshire-based Eolian Renewable Energy to erect four to six wind turbines atop Mount Waldo. On its website, Eolian bills itself as "a new kind of development company," one that builds "local, clean energy projects where they are wanted."

The company, which publicly announced its interest in Frankfort in a letter to residents dated March 1, also held a public information meeting March 17, eight days before town meeting.

Frankfort residents and others from around Maine with an interest in wind power peppered Eolian... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Frankfort - An article on the warrant at Frankfort's annual town meeting Friday, March 25, seeking the town's support - in spirit, not in cash - for a proposed multi-turbine wind energy project atop Mount Waldo didn't get much backing from the residents in attendance.

Article 8 would have authorized selectmen to issue a resolution in support of the proposed project qualifying for a state-administered renewable energy program. As soon as the article was read aloud by moderator Norris Staples, a motion was made and seconded to pass the article over.

"That means take no action," noted Staples.

The article was on the warrant because of a proposal by New Hampshire-based Eolian Renewable Energy to erect four to six wind turbines atop Mount Waldo. On its website, Eolian bills itself as "a new kind of development company," one that builds "local, clean energy projects where they are wanted."

The company, which publicly announced its interest in Frankfort in a letter to residents dated March 1, also held a public information meeting March 17, eight days before town meeting.

Frankfort residents and others from around Maine with an interest in wind power peppered Eolian representatives Jack Kenworthy (the company's CEO) and Senior Development Manager Travis Bullard with questions at the March 17 meeting - how close would the turbines be to residences? How much noise would they make? How would access to Mount Waldo be affected?

While trying to answer those questions, the Eolian representatives also talked about Maine's Community-Based Renewable Energy Pilot Program (CBREPP), a program administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission "to provide incentives for the development of community-based renewable projects."

One of the requirements for a program to be considered for inclusion in the CBREPP is community support. To demonstrate such support, Maine law requires that an entity looking to participate in the CBREPP must provide "documentation of a resolution of support passed by the municipal legislative body or municipal officers, as appropriate, of the municipality in which the community-based renewable energy project is proposed to be located." That requirement is what prompted the inclusion of Article 8 on the town meeting warrant.

After the motion to pass over Article 8 was made and seconded, someone asked if Bullard - who, although not a Frankfort resident, was at the town meeting - could speak.

"Travis [Bullard] had a chance to speak already," said another resident, referring to the March 17 meeting.

Allowing Bullard to speak would have required a favorable vote from at least two-thirds of the voters in attendance, and when the request was voted on, it failed.

Someone asked selectmen for their position on the matter. Selectman Allan Gordon Jr. said Eolian had asked selectmen if they would sign a resolution in support of the company qualifying for the CBREPP, and that selectmen told the company they wouldn't sign the document without authorization from townspeople.

Another resident asked selectmen if it was true Eolian had already asked the town for a tax break, and Gordon said that while the company has not submitted an application to build wind turbines on Mount Waldo, "they have mentioned they'd be interested in a TIF [Tax Increment Financing program]."

Another resident asked if authorizing selectmen to sign a resolution of support would put the town "on the hook for anything." Gordon said no, it was just an indication of town support for Eolian to qualify for the CBREPP.

When the vote was taken, the motion to pass the article over carried by a very large margin. Eolian officials had indicated at the March 17 meeting that while they hoped for a favorable vote from residents at town meeting, they were prepared to proceed with the project even if the vote on support for them qualifying for the CBREPP was not favorable.


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

MAR 31 2011
https://www.windaction.org/posts/30472-frankfort-gives-wind-developer-cold-shoulder
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