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Deal would doom wind farm project, developers claim

YARMOUTH — Developers of a proposed windmill project on two western Maine mountains said Wednesday that scaling back the project, as suggested by an environmental group, would doom their Redington Wind Farm plan. Maine Mountain Power is seeking state approval to build 30 wind turbines, 12 on Redington Pond Range and 18 on Black Nubble Mountain near the Sugarloaf USA ski resort. Hearings get under way next Tuesday in Carrabassett Valley.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine said it would go along with allowing the 18 Black Nubble turbines but believes Redington Pond Range should be placed into permanent protection, which would allow no turbines.

The council said that doing so would reduce the environmental impact on one of Maine's most prominent stretches of high-elevation mountains. It said Redington Pond Range is the only Maine mountain besides Sugarloaf that is above 4,000 feet and not protected from development.

Maine Mountain Power says the one-mountain plan would deter investment and effectively kill the project.

The company says the one-mountain proposal is not viable because it would reduce the project's power-generating capacity and increase capital and operating costs. Making a smaller project would require the company to charge more for its electricity, Maine Mountain says.

The Redington Wind Farm project has drawn criticism from those who are concerned it would extend development into a high terrain that is a habitat for a high-risk species of bird, Bicknell's thrush, and believe it would mar the vista from the Appalachian Trail.

Maine Mountain Power says its $150 million project, when complete, will... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Natural Resources Council of Maine said it would go along with allowing the 18 Black Nubble turbines but believes Redington Pond Range should be placed into permanent protection, which would allow no turbines.

The council said that doing so would reduce the environmental impact on one of Maine's most prominent stretches of high-elevation mountains. It said Redington Pond Range is the only Maine mountain besides Sugarloaf that is above 4,000 feet and not protected from development.

Maine Mountain Power says the one-mountain plan would deter investment and effectively kill the project.

The company says the one-mountain proposal is not viable because it would reduce the project's power-generating capacity and increase capital and operating costs. Making a smaller project would require the company to charge more for its electricity, Maine Mountain says.

The Redington Wind Farm project has drawn criticism from those who are concerned it would extend development into a high terrain that is a habitat for a high-risk species of bird, Bicknell's thrush, and believe it would mar the vista from the Appalachian Trail.

Maine Mountain Power says its $150 million project, when complete, will produce enough power for 40,000 Maine homes and prevent more than 800,000 pounds of pollution per day from existing power plants.

"Strong passions have surfaced in connection with this proposal, and people on both sides of the issue are correct," said Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council. "It is essential that Maine reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, and we also need to protect wild places that make Maine special. We believe that a constructive solution is available that would provide meaningful progress toward both goals."

Maine Mountain Power has met numerous times with the council and shared economic analyses showing that a one-mountain project is not viable, said Randy Mann of Edison Mission Group, a partner in the project with Endless Energy of Yarmouth.

"The NRCM proposal is not a compromise where both sides gain something," said Mann. "This is a proposal that will kill the project."

 


Source: http://pressherald.mainetod...

JUL 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3664-deal-would-doom-wind-farm-project-developers-claim
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