Thursday, March 20, 2008

Input sought on wind farm

Sun Journal

By Donna M. Perry , Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2008

KIBBY TOWNSHIP - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a 30-day public comment period Tuesday on TransCanada's federal permit application for wind farm development work.

TransCanada Maine Wind Development wants to build a $270 million, 44-turbine commercial wind farm on the ridge lines of Kibby Mountain and Kibby Mountain Range in northern Franklin County. It would have a total generating capacity of 132 megawatts.

TransCanada wants to place permanent and temporary fill in inland waterways and adjacent freshwater wetlands between Kibby Township and Carrabassett Valley in order to develop the mountaintop wind project and an associated aerial electrical transmission line, according to a Army Corps of Engineers news release. Corps permit project manager Jay Clement was in training Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

The public notice may be reviewed online at and selecting regulatory/permitting and then weekly public notices.

Minor upgrades are proposed to existing logging roads and some new access roads will result in 25,965 square feet of stream bed and adjacent wetland impact connected to the project.

The two ridge line developments would be linked to a new common electrical substation by transmission collection lines. Installation of those lines would result in about 16,602 square feet of temporary fill using timber mats to access pole locations, the release states.

No clearing impacts will occur in wetlands and all areas of temporary access will be removed and restored on completion of the project.

A new transmission line will extend 27.6 miles from the common substation to an existing substation adjacent to Route 27 at Carrabassett Valley.

About 1,300 square feet of wetland will be permanently filled during pole placement and approximately 7.59 acres of wetland will be temporarily filled using timber mats to access pole locations.

All areas of temporary access fill will be removed and restored upon completion of the project. Additionally, vegetation clearing within the 27.6-mile right of way will affect about 35.55 acres of forested wetland, converting it to emergent or scrub-shrub cover types.

"The proposed wind farm will generate electrical power for distribution to the ISO New England Electrical grid, which distributes power to energy customers throughout New England," the release states.

TransCanada proposes to forgo using its exclusive rights to develop wind facilities on about 1,324 acres of land near the project area, and will facilitate the permanent conservation of about 750 acres of high elevation habitat within Maine's Mahoosuc Mountain Range.

The transmission line construction may impact habitat for Atlantic salmon, which consists of stream and river bottoms composed of silt, sand, and gravel mixed with stones. Impact to the species is expected to be minimal with appropriate erosion control measures and other best management practices, the release states.

If TransCanada gets all approvals, including its corporate and the federal permits, the intent is to start development in August or September and to have half of the wind farm in service in 2009 and the other half in 2010, a company project manager said March 11.

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