Articles filed under General from Maine
Voters will decide on a wind energy moratorium at their March 7 town meeting. The moratorium would give the town time to prepare an ordinance to cover any potential development of wind farm projects. A committee of about a dozen residents formed Monday to discuss how to handle potential future projects in a way that best protects the town.
"I want to encourage the town to make it a little stricter and adapt a 30-decibel limit," Knapp said. He cited the examples of noise complaints at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven's wind power turbine projects. And, he noted that the town of Phillips, which passed at last town meeting a comprehensive wind power zoning ordinance that, in part, was guided by a sound engineer's study and advice, has a noise limit set at 25 decibels."
"One has to wonder if this was a truly nonpartisan independent group that was working on behalf of lowering energy costs," said Levinthal, "or if this was a political vehicle for the Democratic Party. "If an organization such as this is stacked with people who are clearly very active in one party and members of a certain party, you might be scratching your head if you're a Republican or independent as well."
Those appealing the wind project claim that such a project would have adverse affects on the area's economy, particularly as it relates to tourism. The appeal also lists objections to noise, shadow flicker, strobe lights, tree removal, potential dangers to birds and animals and a variety of other possible problems. This project is one of four Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., is planning for the Western Maine area.
Brooksville voters enacted two energy-related ordinances in a special town meeting on January 27. The meeting lasted less than 20 minutes. The first ordinance established a 180-day moratorium on wind power development. The second authorized residents to participate in a federal/state loan program to finance energy efficiency improvements to their buildings.
For people who believe one of Maine's highest conservation priorities should be the preservation of the state's unorganized territories as the timberlands and outdoor-recreational lands they have traditionally been - and I count myself among those people - the greatest threat to the North Woods is large-scale development of any kind.
"The whole thing blew up," said Sen. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, who was a task force member. Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey had pulled out of the project, saying the entire plan was "putting lipstick on a pig," and accusing the Alliance of "greenwashing" what was essentially a project to get Casella stimulus money for its troublesome incinerator.
In their ongoing effort to retrofit a state wind ordinance template to local needs, selectmen Thursday night generated plenty of discussion on the issues of shadow flicker, safety setbacks and decommissioning, but few certainties.
Wind project developer Beaver Ridge Wind LLC says it overpaid about $14,000 in property taxes in 2010 because assessors overstated the value of its land. In the first known request of its kind by a wind developer in the state, the company has asked that its property with three turbines be valued at nearly $1.4 million less than its current assessed value.
It's well-documented and accepted - even among developers - that wind projects create very few permanent jobs. Big Wind and its media allies gloss over this fact and make the argument that economic activity "no matter how brief" justifies permanent degradation of our state's most valuable natural assets. There's nothing that sells a bad idea like the promise of economic salvation.
The concept of heating with the wind, and reducing Maine's dependence on imported oil, is an appealing one. But it's not as simple as hooking up homes to spinning turbines. The Highland Wind project offers a glimpse of how the proposal would work technically, and also a sense of its limitations. Highland Wind LLC is offering residents of Highland Plantation $6,000 grants for energy options that include the installation of electric thermal storage heaters.
Sitting at his kitchen table, Staton unfolded a recent column from The Wall Street Journal. It was about how T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire energy investor, had backed away from wind investments in favor of natural gas. "Common sense tells me that this country is subsidizing anything that says ‘green,' and if it wasn't for the subsidy, wind wouldn't work," he said.
The 11-turbines, located along the Sisk Mountain ridge line to the west of the 44-turbine Kibby project, represented a second attempt at an expansion from TransCanada. An earlier proposal would have added 15 turbines along the ridge line, but that was voted down by the LURC panel in July.
Snow, who lives in Bethlehem NH but owns property by Shagg Pond in Woodstock, had filed an appeal, alleging conflicts of interest on the part of various Planning Board members and that the Planning Board lacked authority to grant a waiver of the town's noise ordinance.
Independence Wind, the Brunswick-based developer responsible for the Highland Wind project, announced Tuesday it would reduce the number of turbines planned for mountaintops near the Appalachian Trail and Bigelow Preserve.
The new application includes $750,000 for land conservation, gives the state a permanent easement prohibiting windpower development on the highest peak and reduces the number of turbines to 39. King says those remaining will be further away from Bigelow and the trail. ..."This is no compromise," Jonathan Carter says. "Angus and Rob's new application is simply an attempt to salvage a project which was ill-conceived."
Citizens opposing the plan to install 360 miles of turbines across Maine are made to look like selfish people whose only concern is their view. But now the huge cost of this plan is coming to light. Now the health issues are being exposed as our neighbors suffer from long-term exposure to low frequency noise. Now DEP sound standards are being proven as inadequate for turbines' unique noise.
Once again the "wind facts" get distorted by the press. In the newspaper's Dec. 19 issue, another story was written as if it were the truth. It was stated that 1 megawatt of wind energy would power 750 to 1,000 homes. One might be impressed by that ratio - if it were true.
But how much control do residents have over whether a wind project goes in their backyard? Not much, according to David Corrigan, a Registered Maine Guide who runs Fletcher Mountain Outfitters in Concord Township and believes his business will suffer if wind power comes to his community. "When it really comes down to it, the people of Maine have no say," Corrigan said.
Some people view imminent wind power development in Somerset County as a way to boost the economic stability of the region. Others decry its perceived adverse health effects and detriment to the landscape. Either way, change is looming. Between $1 billion and $2 billion worth of wind energy projects may be developed in Somerset County within the next three years.