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Planners deliberate further about turbines

A proposal to erect three electricity generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge came as close to being scrapped last night as it had during several hours of planning board deliberation.

The board, which deliberated for about three hours last week and resumed its review Thursday night, talked seriously about limiting the company that hopes to install the turbines, Portland-based Competitive Energy Solutions, to a specific model. Such a limitation would have sent the company packing.

“If that’s where you are going, we might as well call it quits,” said Richard Silkman, a partner at competitive energy.

Though the board had spent nearly five hours examining the application to ensure it matched very specific parts of the town ordinance, the application had met all but one of the ordinance specification, relating to sound, by unanimous approval.

When it came to a performance review, however, the board scuffled with competitive energy’s inability to give specific specifications for the turbines it will install.

Anthony Rogers, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who conducted a sound study for the competitive energy, had based his findings on two specific turbine models. When examining if the proposed project would meet the town’s performance standards, town attorney Bill Kelley suggested the board limit its decision to the two models in Ropers’ report.

Kelley suggested that if competitive energy wished to use a different model it should be required to amend the application.

Silkman argued that it was the board’s job to set parameters and then leave it to the company to match those parameters. Limiting the company to two models of turbines would drive up the costs and make the project unaffordable, he said.

The board ultimately agreed with Silkman’s argument, meaning the company will be free to use any equipment that falls within the ordinance’s standards.

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel