Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lincoln announces wind farm hearing

Lincoln is having a local hearing on the Wind Power project this Wednesday at Mattanawcook Academy from 6-9 pm. I will be there, will you?


By
Nick Sambides Jr.


LINCOLN, Maine - Evergreen Wind Power LLC will hold a hearing Wednesday on its plans to build a $120 million wind farm in Burlington, Lee, Winn and Lincoln. It would be the largest such electricity-generating facility in New England.

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Fast Facts

WHO: Evergreen Wind Power LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind of Massachusetts, the state’s largest producer of wind-to-energy facilities.
WHAT: Public hearing.
WHERE: Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19.
WHY: This is the first opportunity for extensive public comment on Evergreen’s proposed $120 million wind farm, the largest such electricity-generating facility, in New England, in Burlington, Lee, Winn and Lincoln.

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The hearing is part of the company’s efforts to secure permits to build 40 1.5-megawatt windmills creating as much as 60 megawatts of electricity on sites in the four towns. Evergreen is a subsidiary of First Wind of Massachusetts, the state’s largest producer of wind-to-energy facilities.

The windmills would be built on two sites on the Rollins Mountain range and Rocky Dundee Road areas, which run north to south through Lincoln from Burlington to Lee and Winn. Lincoln would have 19 or 20 turbines; Winn, three; Lee, seven; and Burlington, 12. Two turbine sites are listed as alternates, company officials have said.

The company also would install a 115,000-volt transmission line that would run from the north end of Rollins Mountain to a Mattawamkeag connection to the New England grid.

Interim Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said the hearing is a required and integral part of Evergreen’s Rollins Mountain application before the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies. The hearing will be at Mattanawcook Academy from 6 to 9 p.m. The public is invited.

Evergreen’s success is far from assured. Wind farm critics contend that they are noisy eyesores that upset the natural beauty of landscapes, fail to generate anywhere close to their peak capacities, and — given that their electricity often is sold elsewhere in New England — provide little direct benefit to host municipalities.

Still, the town continues to work on developing a tax-break agreement with Evergreen that would help the project be built and operate should it be approved.

"We have made our agreements for them to pay for our attorneys and consulting fees and we expect to have the TIF agreements ready for a public hearing in the next month or two," Goodwin said Thursday. "That’s our hope. It depends on their work."

First Wind is building a 38-turbine farm in Stetson Mountain between Danforth and Springfield and operating a 28-turbine wind farm in Mars Hill. That work, and efforts to install a 38-mile, 115,000-volt line from Stetson to the Keene Substation in Chester, already have provided economic benefits to the town, Goodwin said.

As many as 300 workers are helping build Stetson and the new electrical line.

"They are staying in our hotels, eating in our establishments and utilizing our stores," Goodwin said.

One primary line construction firm, PowerTel Utilities Contractors LTD of Ontario, temporarily moved into a former Chevrolet dealership on Route 2 on July 1. About 65 workers, including subcontractors, work and store equipment there.

The firm will be there until the job is finished, probably by December, said Scott Ingraham, project manager.

"This is an ideal situation for us, because we have lots of yard space to repair and store things," Ingraham said.

Warehouse supervisor Shawn Picard was glad the company got the Stetson Mountain job. A Millinocket resident and Maine Maritime Academy student, the 20-year-old was pleased to be working closer to home than Nova Scotia and Ontario, the company’s previous work sites.

More direct benefits are expected when First Wind selects a town location for an office that will oversee its northern Maine operations. Its search is ongoing, Goodwin said.

Company officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.

4 comments:

  1. Joe, you are obviously a misguided eco-freak who has swallowed the myth of wind farms being good. You owe it to yourself and to others who might stumble across this website to explore the real facts of this issue. First, this is not a "farm", a pastoral term used to sugar-coat what is really a sprawling industrial site. Second, these are not your friendly little wind generators that allow some people to live off the grid. These are typically 280 foot gigantic towers, with turbines the size of a bus sitting on top, with blades that have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 747. Third, when they might spin enough to produce kilowatts (typically less than 30% of the time according to statistics from the US Energy Information Office), all the electricity goes out of state, not to Mainers. The guaranteed subsidy of 2 cents per kilowatt hour from the Federal government goes to the out of state investors, too. Wind energy is the most expensive to produce and even if ISO New England, operators of the grid, don't want to accept it, they must do so, by law. When they do, this intermittent so-called "green" energy influx means ISO New England must throttle back the base line facilities, actually causing a rise in air pollution, as they are forced to operate at a level different from the efficiency rate for which they were designed.
    Fourth, hundreds of people live year round or have seasonal camps directly on the 15 lakes and ponds in Lincoln, Lee, and Burlington. The vista of the rolling ridges amongst the lakes will be dominated by a forest of steel, with flashing lights 24/7. Everone knows how sound carries across water and it is commonly acknowledged that industrial wind generators produce troublesome levels of decibels. It is not fair that hundreds of property owners will no longer have the ambiance they sought in the beautiful Lincoln Lakes Region once they are surrounded by a sprawling industrial site. They will see a decline in property value and a dramatic downturn in market value for their properties. Lastly, the people of the Lincoln Lakes Region are blessed with the beauty of the ridges and lakes that dramatically offset the presence of the pulp mill and its odor. Permanently erecting a forest of steel across the ridgelines of Rollins Mt. and Rocky Dundee will destroy the image of the Lincoln Lakes Region. It is far too negative a trade-off for what is essentially a government subsidized scam for First Wind to profit at the expense of rural Maine.

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  2. Windmills suck. These belong offshore. We cannot have 25 inland projects with 300 ft. wide powerlines and destroyed ridges and mountains. 20 years from now some will look back and say "What in hell were we thinking?" We will say "We told you so!" Scam business has become the norm in the US. There is no environmental benefit if the environment is destroyed, obviously. Wait for tidal or solar, it is coming fast. That is why the wind developers want to move so fast. Take the money and run, after ruining the scenery and wrecking our views and property values.

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  3. I live across from the hill where they are planning on putting these windmills. They will ruin scenery and disrupt the enviornment including killing many birds. I have seen a few bald eagles where I live and these wind turbines could contribute to killing off more of an already endangered species. This project is not helping save the enviornment; its hurting it.

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  4. Build em up and let god decide who gets the kWh. The bunny huggers cannot deter the advancement of wind energy. I have a dream that every ridge line in Maine will be peppered with massive turbines capable of producing 3MW and more.

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