Articles from Maine
The rejection of the proposed Redington wind power project will undoubtedly bring loud howls of pain from the project’s advocates. This is because the symbolism of wind turbines churning out electricity with no pollution and CO2 emissions is a powerful vision to us all. However, the issue that Maine Mountain Power and its supporters did not take into account is that there are some places in Maine where such mammoth facilities just do not belong.
Wind is the least cost effective way to produce power. But all the tax credits make if very profitable. That is the only reason to build wind plants. A project like Redington Black Nubble would mean about $20 million in tax credits over the 10-year period allowed by the production tax legislation. That's not counting what they sell the power for. It's all about the money. It isn't some environmental company here to save us. As far as the Land Use Regulation Commission's denial of the Redington Project, the project did not meet the standards and laws. It's that simple. And we better watch out. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep our mountains protected.
FREEDOM — The company that hopes to erect three wind turbines on Beaver Ridge worked on the cheap when it submitted its application to the Planning Board, according to attorney Ed Bearor. “It’s a mystery to me how a $10-$12 million project can be on such a skinflint budget when it comes to getting approval,” said Bearor, who represents Steve Bennett and other property abutters opposed to the project, during Thursday’s appeals board meeting. The board, which is considering overturning the Planning Board’s December decision to approve the project, was still meeting as of 8:30 p.m.
FREEDOM — The board of appeals is set to begin hearing arguments on three proposed wind turbines on Thursday. The first of five scheduled meetings is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the basement of the First Congregational Church. A meeting originally scheduled for Friday has been canceled, said Addison Chase, chairman of the appeals board. Selectmen agreed to hire Waterville attorney Al Stevens to guide the appeals board through its deliberations, Chase said.
Residents say the wind turbines atop Mars Hill Mountain are making noise and they want it fixed, but town officials aren’t sure whether anyone can do anything about it. More than 40 residents who live around the mountain crammed into the town office Monday night during the Mars Hill Town Council meeting to register concerns about the Mars Hill Wind Farm. Town councilors spent almost two hours trying to answer the crowd’s questions, but said the issue cannot be fully addressed until a sound analysis is done showing whether the noise exceeds Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Everyone agrees that, since the project’s beginning, people were told there would be no noise. But since mid-December, town and company officials and the Department of Environmental Protection have been fielding noise complaints.
Despite last week’s ruling by state officials that could lead to final rejection of the proposed Redington wind power project in western Maine, Gov. John Baldacci said he remains committed to that form of renewable energy. The governor did not question last Wednesday’s 6-1 vote by the Land Use Regulation Commission, saying that LURC “is an independent, citizen board” that must scrutinize each project in a balanced and measured way. “They are responsible for evaluating projects like this one. Just because I support an expansion of wind energy does not exempt the project from the review process. These things have to be done in a reasonable way,” the governor told The Associated Press.
Wendy and Perrin Todd knew what would happen to their view of Mars Hill Mountain when crews starting erecting wind towers near their backyard. They braced themselves when their home, newly built on the north side of the mountain, shook because of the blasting. But what shocked them — and what they said this week they should not be expected to live with — is the noise. “They turned on tower Number 9, and almost immediately it made enough noise that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that can’t be right,’” Wendy Todd said. “It all depends on the wind speed and direction, but the best way to describe it is you step outside and look up thinking there’s an airplane. It’s like a high-range jet, high-low roar, but with the windmills, there’s a sort of on and off ‘phfoop … phfoop … phfoop’ noise.”
It seems few in this town of about 1,500 people can agree on UPC Wind Management’s newly completed $85 million project, which makes the unassuming potato-growing and truck-brokerage community home to New England’s largest wind farm. But there’s one thing everybody can agree on: The place sure looks different. Long before a visitor arrives at Mars Hill, the towers become visible along what used to be just another mountain. The total height from the ground to the tip of the blade is 389 feet. Each tower has three blades, which spin in winds whipping west to east toward Canada just a few miles away.
Kurt Adams, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, said that with the New England power grid heavily dependent on power from fossil fuels, more wind energy would be good for Maine and the region. But while the commission generally favors wind power for economic and environmental reasons, Adams said translating those benefits to reality will not be easy. “Yesterday’s decision reflects the challenge wind developers will have finding suitable sites,” Adams said.
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.
“As a practical matter, this was a denial,” Commission Chairman E. Bart Harvey III of Millinocket said after the meeting. “We simply have to memorialize that in a document that explains the reasons for denial and vote on it to approve it. I think we concluded the impact on resources is in excess of what we would be allowed in LURC’s comprehensive plan, regulations and rules.”
In a decision that could have wide ramifications for the future of wind power in Maine, the Land Use Regulation Commission on Wednesday rejected a plan to place 30 turbines on two western mountains.
The surprising rejection on Wednesday of a proposed wind farm near Rangeley sends one clear message to landowners with development plans for Maine’s North Woods. Members of Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission aren’t afraid to make up their own minds about what activities are allowed by the strict rules that protect the 10 million acres of unorganized territory. Neither widespread support for wind power nor a strong endorsement by LURC’s own staff swayed the commissioners in this case. They effectively voted 6-1 against the Redington wind farm after citing concerns about its visual and environmental effects.
FARMINGTON–The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission voted, 6-1 against rezoning 1,004 mountaintop acres in northern Franklin County for a 30-turbine wind-energy project today. Only commissioner Stephen Wight, of Newry, supported the rezoning request. The commission's staff had previously recommended the rezoning be approved.
A seven-member citizen board will rule Wednesday on a wind power project that would be built on ridgelines that environmentalists say are rare habitat and home to threatened species. The Land Use Regulation Commission will meet at 9:30 a.m. in Farmington to rule on the application by Maine Mountain Power LLC to rezone about 1,000 acres on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain to allow the construction of 30 turbines, each 400 feet high. The meeting is scheduled to take place in the Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington. Environmentalists have strongly criticized a recommendation by the commission staff in favor of the $130 million project. The commission usually follows the staff recommendation. The land use agency acts as the planning board for the unorganized territories, an area that makes up roughly half of Maine.
An element of mystery has entered the story of the increasingly controversial Competitive Energy Services (CES) wind turbine project proposed for Freedom’s Beaver Ridge. Potentially critical mail apparently went missing on its way from a lawyer’s office to the town office earlier this month. As a result, 27 local residents unhappy with what they see as significant negative effects that would result from the $12 million project now fear they might be denied their opportunity to mount an appeal.
A group of environmental and hiking organizations claimed Thursday that a recommendation by the staff of Maine’s wilderness zoning board to approve a controversial wind power project in the state’s western mountains is illegal. But the groups, including Maine Audubon and the Appalachian Mountain Club, stopped short of vowing to initiate a court challenge if the Land Use Regulation Commission gives the green light to the plan to build 30 wind turbines on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain. LURC is scheduled to vote on Maine Mountain Power’s application Wednesday in Farmington. The commission usually, but not always, goes along with staff recommendations.
FREEDOM — The board of appeals has scheduled hearings on a proposed $10 million wind turbine project for next month, but whether the board ever gets to hear the appeal remains to be seen. Ron Price, who owns the Beaver Ridge property approved for the electricity-generating turbines, argued in a letter submitted to the town on Tuesday that the opponents’ appeal was not properly submitted and should be dismissed. The town’s planning board last month approved Portland-based Competitive Energy Services’ plan to erect three turbines, each 390 feet tall, on Price’s property on Beaver Ridge. The turbines would produce up to 10 million kilowatt hours each year — enough to power 2,000 homes, according to the company’s proposal. Competitive Energy hopes to complete the project by the end of 2008. Steve Bennett and his daughter, Erin Bennett-Wade, and their spouses appealed the planning board’s decision with a notice turned in to the town office on Jan. 6, one day before the 30-day deadline. However, their appeal did not include a site plan as required by the ordinance, according to Price.
AUGUSTA -– TransCanada Corporation has officially filed an application with the Land Use Regulation Commission for a petition to rezone and develop the Kibby Wind Power Project. The LURC Commissioners and Staff will be well rehearsed in wind power having dealt with the Redington project over the last year. The commissioners are expected to take regulatory action on the Redington project starting on Jan. 24 in Farmington. The proposed wind energy facility sited on portions of Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in Franklin County, would provide approximately 132 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity to customers in Maine and New England. The proposed wind project is four times the size of the Redington project.
It is not about wind mills or wind power. What it is about is keeping our mountains PROTECTED. Maine is not about any man-made things. When people think of our state, they think of the natural beauty of our lakes, ocean and mountains and forests. That’s why they come here. That’s why we live here. Please keep our mountains protected.