Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Maine
No, thanks, was the overwhelming answer voiced by residents attending a pitch by an energy company to install between 12 and 25 wind turbines along a ridge on the western side of town.
In this nine-minute video, winner of the 2015 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, videographer Roger Smith presents the viewpoints of the local proponents and opponents of the $100 million project.
Much of the scenic beauty for which Maine is so widely known will be despoiled. The stated 2,700-Megawatt goal of Maine’s Wind Energy Act would require as many as 1,500 wind turbines, each hundreds of feet tall, with accompanying access roads and new transmission lines, on up to 300 miles of Maine’s hills and mountains. Those transmission lines, to carry the electricity that could be provided by a single, high-quality conventional generator, will add billions of dollars to New England electric bills.
The developer of the 16-turbine Bowers Mountain wind power project near eight lakes with special scenic designation argued Wednesday to Maine’s highest court that regulators erred in considering the project’s collective effect on the lakes.
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.
But the project was dealt a major setback this week when the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the UMaine-led project just $3 million, a fraction of the $47 million grant it sought over the last two years. Projects in Oregon, New Jersey and Virginia received larger grants.
An appeals board delayed issuing a formal decision Thursday that could decide the fate of a $100 million wind-to-energy facility proposed for Bowers Mountain. However, it said a denial of the project is likely to be upheld.
The department’s staff, as it did in 2013, is again recommending the project be turned down, according to state documents filed in advance of Thursday’s meeting. In its 2014 recommendation, DEP staff wrote that Bowers Wind “would result in an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character” of the region.
LD 1750 gives a blank check to foreign and out-of-state industrial wind companies to build thousands of huge turbine towers across the middle and top half of Maine with limited environmental review. Southern Maine voters don’t want wind turbines there, so the Legislature is effectively arranging for hundreds of towers to be built in northern and central Maine where, under current law, residents won’t even get the chance to decide if they want these huge industrial zones or not.
And now with Maine’s southern neighbors halting industrial wind in their states, they’re paying to build thousands of turbines in Maine, to devastate every magnificent Maine ridge, pinnacle and mountain with howling machines more than 50 stories high, some so tall they’ll be the third-tallest structures in New England.
Under a bill being considered by the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee, the state could seek an assessment of the visual impact of a wind project as far as 15 miles from a scenic resource, like the Appalachian Trail, instead of 8 miles as it's written in current law.
Brighton Plantation was approached by First Wind about a potential site for the project, but the town has a zoning ordinance that doesn’t allow for commercial and industrial development. "he project is right across our border and some of us are concerned that with it being so close to our town borders and us being a small town whether they will be respecting our borders.”
Aroostook County becomes a major hub for wind power development.
When those subsidies stop, you can count on First Wind disappearing with the public's tax dollar-generated profits, leaving behind a severely impoverished industrialized landscape. It is a scam being perpetrated on the people of Maine by well-funded industrial wind lobbyists, a few quasi-environmental groups who refuse to get their heads out of the sand and others who refuse to stop taking the bribe money the wind corporations enjoy passing out.
In a draft decision released Wednesday, staff members said the project, proposed by a subsidiary of First Wind, would have an "adverse effect" on the scenic character of eight lakes that are within eight miles of the proposed project. The Glenkens community is divided on the issue, with arch opponents GLARE and their backers lining up against those keen to lever in windfall cash.
A scenic impact expert testifying before the state's top environmental agency on Tuesday said First Wind's proposed wind project "comes as close as being unreasonably adverse" in its potential impact on Bowers Mountain as any he has seen.
Once the Rollins project was built, Rainer and Gaby Engle of Switzerland, who bought their "American dream getaway," faced 21 turbines -- the sounds and sights of which dominated their lakeside experience. They lost their enjoyment in the property and listed their property for sale.
Testifying neither for nor against LD 616, Patrick Woodcock, director of the Governor's Energy Office, urged legislators not to shy away from trying to improve the 2008 Wind Energy Act. He reiterated LePage's intent to streamline energy permitting processes in Maine, but in a way that does not favor one industry over another, which he said the current law does.
Three groups and a professional guide will get to cross examine First Wind officials who want to build an industrial wind site on Bowers Mountain when the state's top environmental agency reviews the proposal in late April or early May, officials said Monday.