Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from Maine
Imagine that number of turbines, strung along our mountains from the Maine-New Hampshire border, along the spine of the mountains to the Kennebec River and beyond. Roads up steep slopes will have to be built to each grouping of turbines. New power lines will be strung down valleys to reach grid connections. Blinking lights at night will be visible for a hundred miles or more. This scenario is too horrible for most Mainers to believe, or even visualize. Yet it is being proposed.
The Black Nubble Wind Farm, which calls for 18 turbines on the western Maine mountain, will go before the public Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Sugarloaf Grand Summit Conference Center in Carrabassett Valley. ... The Black Nubble proposal is a smaller version of the Redington wind farm proposal, which was rejected by Land Use Regulation Commission members in an unusual 6-1 vote in January that went against the recommendation of its own staff.
Three environmental organizations agreed to back the proposed Kibby Mountain wind-power project in Franklin County after the developer agreed to pay $500,000 to protect several high-elevation acres in Oxford County. According to a late Tuesday afternoon report, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Audubon and Natural Resources Council of Maine negotiated the deal with TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc.
The state’s largest wildlife conservation organization commends the commissioners of Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission for their 6-1 decision today to deny a permit for a controversial wind-power project sited in a high-mountain Western Maine area zoned for protection and home to rare wildlife. “Today we have seen LURC’s commissioners take action for which all Maine citizens can be grateful: They have upheld the laws that protect unique, spectacular areas in Maine,” said Jennifer Burns, staff attorney and advocate for Maine Audubon.
The Federal Communications Commission recently began the process of considering new rules to reduce the number of birds killed in collisions with communications towers. The best way to reduce collisions is to have fewer towers by collocating equipment on one structure. The FCC rulemaking furthers the national discussion of collocation, which can benefit more than birds.
"It's a difficult bird to study because it's distributed across a fragmented range of mountaintops which we sometimes refer to as 'sky islands.' We estimate the total population to be between 20,000 and 40,000 birds," Rimmer said. The bird's habitat faces potential threats from ski area development, communications tower construction, wind energy projects, acid rain, mercury and global warming.
Charles B. Cooper, a Massachusetts-based consultant who has been retained by Maine Tidal Energy Co., said the company is developing new technology for its Maine and national tidal energy projects. The tidal in-stream energy conversion units, which could be used in the Kennebec River, would resemble a tall fan with a giant hole in the middle of the section where the blades would be located. Portions of blades, or propellers, would extend 20 to 50 feet outward through the rim of the fan. As the tides flow in and out of the river with each lunar cycle, the blades would rotate slowly -- in the range of three to 10 revolutions per minute, Cooper said.
My viewpoint was, and still is, that the huge towers (260 feet high), gigantic blades (add another 150 feet), blinking strobe lights, permanent removal of wind-hindering vegetation, and highly visible road and transmission infrastructures are totally inappropriate for wild, undeveloped, scenic and highly visible settings. And I said I thought that opponents should focus on those issues, as well as the small return in electricity for the massive public price paid, aesthetically and otherwise, and should perhaps stay away from the issue of bird mortality caused by the rapidly spinning blades. The jury is still out on that, I said, and conventional wisdom is that vastly more birds are killed by high-rise windows and free-running cats......Well, so much for conventional wisdom. Editor's Note This opinion piece was written in response to a letter received from Lisa Linowes that is available via the link below.
The costs are “the loss of the mountains,” said Dr. Dain Trafton of Phillips, Maine, speaking for the friends group to the Original Irregular newspaper. “Is it worthwhile introducing this huge industrial plant into these beautiful mountains when, in fact, very little power will be produced, very few emissions will be avoided, and very little economic benefit will come to the area?”
BREWER - As wind power begins to blow into Maine, state regulators on Wednesday considered its potential to squeeze increasingly expensive - and less environmentally friendly - fossil fuels out of the region's energy mix.