Saturday, March 17, 2007

Company seeks approval for second wind farm

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The company that built New England's largest wind farm in Mars Hill, which went on line earlier this year, is seeking state approval to go ahead with an even larger project in a remote area of eastern Maine.

Evergreen Wind Power LLC has filed an application with the Land Use Regulation Commission to build 38 towers on Stetson Mountain in northern Washington County, between Danforth and Springfield. The $100 million project would generate about 57 megawatts for the New England power grid.

The Stetson Mountain project would be larger than one on Mars Hill Mountain in northern Maine, which has 28 turbines and a capacity for 42 megawatts of power, enough to provide the power needs for 45,000 average Maine homes.

Maine's land-use board, which regulates development in the state's unorganized territory, moved in January to reject a proposed 30-turbine wind farm on Redington and Black Nubble mountains in western Maine. Commissioners cited its proximity to the Appalachian Trail and noted that the development area is a habitat for several rare or endangered species.

A separate proposal calls for 44 turbines in Kibby Township, near the Canadian border in western Maine.

The application by Alberta-based TransCanada is pending before LURC.

Evergreen Wind Power LLC of Bangor, a subsidiary of UPC Wind Management of Newton, Mass., says in its application before LURC that the Stetson project is not in a high-value scenic area. The application says the turbines would be visible on the horizon from Baskahegan Lake near Brookton, about nine miles away, and from a small portion of a scenic byway along U.S. Route 1.

The company estimates that the turbines will help to reduce air pollution by 100,000 tons per year. LURC's staff will evaluate Evergreen's application for completeness before beginning a formal review.

Gov. John Baldacci has identified wind power as an important component of efforts to reduce the state's and region's dependence on power plants that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.

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