Library filed under Impact on Views from Maine
Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday placed a moratorium on permits for most new wind turbines in Maine, a move that could reverberate regionally a day before Massachusetts is set to announce winners in a massive clean power procurement plan.
This useful paper discusses the response of those who view wind turbine visual simulations using virtual reality and those who see the same image as a 2-dimensional graphic. The study found that the VR rendering provided viewers more information to assess their "visitation experience." It was found that VR technology caused respondents, on average, "to have more negative reactions to the wind turbines." The introduction and conclusion of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed at the document links on this page.
Residents said they feared the 500-foot tall turbines would adversely affect the aviation tradition on the lake, culminating every fall with the Greenville Fly-in. “There’s a lot at stake,” McDonald told the group. “The view and the wilderness experience. There’s a future at stake if you want to develop tourism in the area, the turbines pose a serious threat to the region.”
A group that fears that more industrial wind development in rural Somerset County will hurt the economy and quality of life for area residents.
The Maine Tourism Association provided this testimony in support of Maine bill LD 901, a bill that calls for a I5-mile buffer zone and visual impact assessment on expedited wind energy development in order to protect some of the most popular tourist desitinations in the State. Maine tourism supports 16% of the state's employment and brings in $8.8 billion in total sales annually.
Legislation proposed by Maine Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, to prohibit The New England Aqua Ventus 1 project from building two 6-megawatt wind turbines two-and-a-half miles off Monhegan Island could kill the University of Maine-led effort. For now, it is now one of only two projects still in the running for Department of Energy funding.
As committee President John Willard, owner of the Birches Resort in Rockwood, has said, if industrial wind development prevails unencumbered, the turbines sitting atop our blasted and bulldozed mountains will turn America’s Crown Jewel into nothing more than a “crown of thorns.”
The Court upheld the Board of Environmental Protection's (BEP's) conclusion that the project's sixteen turbines would have "an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character and existing uses related to the scenic character” of nine of the lakes which the State recognizes as "Scenic Resources of State or National Significance".
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.
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.
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.
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.
This draft decision prepared by the Staff for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection details why the Bowers Mountain Wind Park should be denied. The project consisted of 16 Vestas or Siemens 3.0 megawatt turbines (48 MWs in total). Following extensive hearings on the project the Department found the project would create an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character and existing uses related to scenic character in the area surrounding the project. The full draft order can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
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.
The Department of Environmental Protection's recommendation Thursday goes to DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. In reaching its decision, the DEP staff said the proposed windmills would disrupt a "one-of-a-kind" view from Saponac Pond.
The Record Hill wind project consists of 22 Siemens 93 2.3 MW turbines along a four mile ridgeline. Nameplate capacity is 50.6 MW. The view in this video is from less than 2-miles away.
How anyone could ignore something 410 feet high is beyond me. These turbines, however, are far more than visual eyesores: They are permanent scars on our mountainous landscapes.
Under the tougher standards, Highland Wind will have to prove it will not harm scenery beyond eight miles of the project, where Bigelow Preserve and the Appalachian Trail are. Previously it only had to focus on the area within eight miles of the project.
They looked like a line of alien invaders marching across the face of the earth. I believe I counted 31 of them using my binoculars, with several more showing just their blades cutting in the back drop. I thought how horrible they looked.
I wondered how Maine reached this precipice, where developers and politicians permanently scar beautiful Maine landscapes. It seemed a strange twist for a state that once had prided itself on financially sound, aesthetically pleasing development, and even outlawed billboards decades ago.