Library from Maine
Tisdale told Courthouse News that the Soitec project's location is one of its most troubling aspects. It is slated for a rural, high fire-risk area that is groundwater-dependent and not zoned for industrial use, she said. It is also near the McCain Valley Resource Conservation Area.
So here we are, a town divided, petitions ignored, selectmen pushing on with their plans for industrial development in our rural scenic areas. What got us here is poor leadership. On a board with combined terms of service measured in decades, not one of our selectmen has bothered to familiarize themselves with the assets of the town or the will of the people as outlined in the comprehensive plan. No wonder we are in such a mess.
An environmental group that has battled against the Bingham Wind Project in Somerset County has abandoned its appeal of the state licensing of the project, clearing the last regulatory hurdle in the way of construction of the $398 million project.
The group Friends of Maine Mountains has withdrawn its challenge to a permit for a 56-turbine SunEdison wind power project, clearing the way for the western Maine development to move ahead.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to take a second look at the terms of two long-term wind purchasing deals the three-person commission approved in December. The makeup of the commission has changed since the December approval, with Carlisle McLean joining the panel in place of former chairman Tom Welch, who retired early at the end of 2014.
Of the $1.87 million, $1.12 million would be in the form of annual payments of $56,000 ($4,000 for each turbine) over 20 years. That much is mandated by state law, which says wind developers must compensate host communities such as Osborn. Of the remaining $750,000, one-third of it would come in a lump sum payment that the town would be required to use for public safety costs. The other $500,000 would be a second lump sum payment for an energy conservation fund.
The Board of Environmental Protection, an appointed citizen oversight panel, will consider the Bingham Wind permit appeal at a March 5 meeting and hear oral arguments before taking up a draft order that would uphold the permit for the 62-turbine wind farm.
A federal judge has rejected challenges to federal permits for a 50-turbine wind farm in Oakfield that broke ground in September and shipped components to Searsport on Monday.
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 Monday evening to postpone a vote to approve the most recent draft of the town's Wind Energy Facility Ordinance for the June 9 referendum until the Planning Board can address the concerns of a group of residents.
In a Feb. 18 order, the commission called for comments on whether the deals should be reconsidered in response to natural gas price forecasts from the benchmark Henry Hub, which now estimates that natural gas prices will be 20 percent lower than the prices the PUC used in its analysis of the wind power contracts.
Welch has been replaced on the commission with LePage's former chief legal counsel, Carlisle McLean. Now the PUC says it wants to hear from interested parties on whether recent dramatic energy price fluctuations warrant a reopening of the wind companies' proposals.
Shortly after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided that Julie and Peter Beckford had filed their appeal to stop a permitted wind farm on nearby Pisgah Mountain five days too late, the two Rebel Hill Road farmers filed another appeal asking for reconsideration. On Thursday, the supreme court denied the Beckfords’ motion for reconsideration.
Lawmakers are sharply divided on whether subsidies that promote investments in solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy are good energy policy or a drag on the Maine economy.
Is the prospect of having 14 wind turbines in your community worth receiving nearly $2 million in town coffers over the next two decades? That’s the question residents of Osborn will be considering this month, as First Wind pitches a three-prong community benefits package as part of its planned third wind farm in Hancock County.
The Board of Selectmen voted Monday evening to extend the moratorium on wind energy projects for another six months. The extension gives the town time to finish revising the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
With the Maine Wind Energy Act’s passage, Mainers in parts of the Unorganized Territory lost their right to participate in planning and zoning decisions related to wind power siting in their communities.
In the last couple weeks, the Friends of Dodge Hill have been rallying for the moratorium. After the vote, organizer Nikki Fox wrote in an email that she’s “heartbroken” it came within five votes of passing. While she trusts the ballots were counted properly, Fox said she’ll be calling for a recount. According to Town Clerk Connie Brown, that’s allowed.
Karen Bessey Pease of Maine attended an open house event sponsored by wind developer, Iberdrola. The purpose of the open house was to speak to the community about a proposed wind project Iberdrola plans to construct. Ms. Pease offers thoughtful insights about the event.
A majority of the workshop centered around an amendment that placed a low-frequency sound limit of 50 decibels post-construction and without contribution from other ambient sounds for properties a mile or more away from state highways or other major roads and 55 decibels for properties closer than a mile from such roads.
In 2013, the Fletcher Mountain project was awarded a 15-year power purchase agreement with a group of four Massachusetts utilities. However, Iberdrola cancelled the contract after failing to receive corporate approval, according to a regulatory filing.