The Massachusetts wind development company behind the Mars Hill wind farm project will soon be conducting a year-long wind study on four Rumford peaks.
Evergreen Wind Power LLC also has filed an application with the state’s Land Use Regulation Commission to build 38 towers on Stetson Mountain in remote northern Washington County, between Danforth and Springfield. That $100 million project would generate about 57 megawatts for the New England power grid.
In Rumford, one 150-foot-tall weather monitoring tower will each be placed atop Mount Dimmock, Black Mountain, Rumford Whitecap and South Twin Mountain, according to building permits dated Feb. 27 and issued by Code Enforcement Officer Rich Kent.
Because they are prevailing-wind study towers and not power-generating wind farm turbines, the project doesn’t have to go before planners, Kent said Wednesday.
Mount Dimmock landowner Joseph Martin applied for each permit on behalf of Long Fellow Wind LLC, a subsidiary of UPC Wind Management LLC of Newton, Mass. Evergreen also is a UPC subsidiary. The Rumford study towers each cost an estimated $9,000, according to the permits.
Other landowners involved are Franklin Gammon of Rumford Center on Black Mountain, A & B Forestry Inc. of Rumford Center on South Twin, and Leo Kersey Jr. of Rumford on Rumford Whitecap.
Kersey and his children are involved in a last-minute attempt to stop the Land for Maine’s Future program from providing $243,000 to be used toward a $760,743 purchase by the Mahoosuc Land Trust to preserve 751 acres of Rumford Whitecap, including a small portion of the summit adjacent to Kersey property. That deal is supposed to close Friday, March 30.
Contacted Wednesday morning, Martin declined comment, and all Kersey would say is that he didn’t know if the tower will even be placed on the summit. Calls to Gammon and A & B Forestry were not returned.
Additionally, calls to UPC’s director of project development, Matthew Kearns, who is handling the Rumford project, were not returned.
The Mars Hill project, Maine’s first wind farm, has 28 wind turbines generating 42 megawatts of power just south of Presque Isle in Aroostook County.
According to UPC’s Web site, its wind energy projects create local jobs, provide lease income to landowners on whose property towers are built, give the host town significant income and generate non-volatile electricity.
Regarding the $85 million Mars Hill project, UPC awarded contracts totaling more than $22 million to local construction firms, creating 300 jobs and giving landowners 25-year leases. The town of Mars Hill gets $500,000 annually and will realize a total of $10 million for 20 years, the Web site stated.
In Washington County, the Stetson Mountain project would be larger than the 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 the proposed wind farm’s 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Terry Karkos
15 March 2007
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