September 8, 2006

Kibby Wind Power Project underway

D.J. Hart

EUSTIS -““ On Tuesday, Aug. 29 representatives from TransCanada were at the Eustis Selectmen’s regularly scheduled meeting. Elizabeth Swain of Barton & Gingold also stopped by the Irregular office the following morning.

The purpose for the meetings was to formally announce that TransCanada has concluded most of its studies in the Kibby Mountain Range and are now stating that it is suitable for the development of a wind power project. TransCanada plans on filing its rezoning application to the Land Use Regulation Commission this fall.

According to the project literature, TransCanada is a leading North American energy company that is competitively positioned in natural gas transmission and power services, with $20.7 billion in assets.

Currently TransCanada has more then 6,700 MW of electrical generating capacity, which is enough to serve 6.7 million average households. 739.5 MW of wind power is currently under construction in Quebec.

Spokesmen for the project are stating that the Kibby Wind Power Project will be a 130 MW facility using 45, 3MW turbines. The total number of turbines has been scaled back by the use of larger, higher technologically enhanced turbines that suggest similar output as the turbines reported earlier. This site was once permitted by LURC for a wind farm to a company called Kennetech. The project, although permitted, never developed due to the company’s bankruptcy. Under Kennetech’s proposal, 400 turbines were required to produce 132MW in the first phase.

The project development focus is planned on two ridgelines. TransCanada has acquired the development rights to four ridgelines, (3,767 acre of land), which “represent the highest wind resource value,” they state.

The literature also states, “The site has been selected through careful balancing of wind resource, transmission access and environmental considerations. The sustainable forest operations occurring at the site can continue with the project in place. The existing logging road network can be utilized for project access. No designated recreation resources are immediately proximate; existing recreation uses of the site can continue.”

The project’s anticipated generating capacity will supply the Maine and New England marketplace interconnecting the existing CMP electric transmission grid.

The project calls for approximately 18 miles of access roads, electric interconnections between turbines and will have a step-up transformer substation. The total length of the $250 to $300 million dollar project’s transmission lines will be 30.6 miles.

TransCanada claims there will be tax and community benefits such as an estimated 250 jobs during peak construction and 10 to 20 permanent jobs.

LURC will have regulatory jurisdiction for the project in Kibby, Skinner, Jim Pond townships, Coplin, Wyman, Concord, Pleasant Ridge and Highland. The Department of Environmental Protection will have jurisdiction along with the local planning boards for Eustis, Carrabassett Valley and potentially Moscow.

With an application submitted this fall, TransCanada hopes to have a LURC/DEP decision in the summer of 2007, start construction that fall and begin commercial operations in December 2008.

The project’s literature claims their goals are: “Transparency and Responsiveness.” They will, “Continue meeting with interested individuals and organizations. Sponsor local Question and Answer sessions and maintain open communication and keep the public informed.”

For public inquiries, interested individuals can call 877-943-2267.

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