KIBBY TOWNSHIP -TransCanada Corp. has filed an application with state land regulators seeking permission to rezone 2,900 mountain acres and to build a $270 million wind-energy producing farm in northern Franklin County.
TransCanada, a leading energy developer in North America, proposes to install 44 3-megawatt turbines and associated infrastructure on 13.7 miles of ridge line on on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in the Boundary Mountains in Kibby and Skinner townships, north of Eustis.
The design shows the turbines on a southern ridge of Kibby Mountain and on a wishbone-shaped ridge of Kibby Range, which are located not too far from the Canadian border and Somerset County line.
The application for the zoning change and development permit was filed Jan. 8 with the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, Director Catherine Carroll said.
TransCanada wants to rezone the 2,900 acres from the existing mountain area protection subdistrict to a planned development subdistrict. There are other zones involved including shoreland zoning, she said, but the footprint is largely in mountain protection subdistrict, which means it is above 2,700 feet in elevation, she said.
The project would also include power collection lines, access roads and an electric transmission line to connect power generated by the turbines to the existing power transmission grid.
The wind farm will be capable of providing about 132 megawatts of wind-generated electricity to customers in Maine and New England, according to TransCanada press release.
If approved, the Kibby Wind Power Project will support Maine’s energy-related goals of increased energy independence and greenhouse gas reduction, help stabilize electricity costs and reduce reliance on fossil fuel generated electricity, the release states.
LURC staff will go through the application for completeness and pre-hearing review before a public hearing on the project is held, Carroll said.
One portion of the application pertaining to the transmission line is expected to be submitted within a month, she said.
LURC staff senior planner Marcia Spencer-Famous has been working with the company on its application for about a year and a number of stakeholder meetings have been held to try and work out the bugs of the proposed project beforehand, Carroll said.
It is the second wind farm proposal Spencer-Famous has been working on for Franklin County.
Maine Mountain Power LLC proposes to rezone 1,004 mountaintop acres in northern Franklin County, about 4 miles west of Sugarloaf/USA in Carrabassett Valley, to erect 30 turbines on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain in Redington Township. The LURC staff is recommending approval with conditions for the $130 million project to the commission at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington.
By Donna M. Perry, Staff Writer
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