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Developer proposes smaller wind farm near Sugarloaf

The developer of a controversial wind farm proposed for Maine’s western mountains plans to submit a scaled-down version in hopes of winning approval from state regulators, the Land Use Regulation Commission said Wednesday.

Maine Mountain Power plans to drop its request for building 12 wind-power turbines on Redington Mountain. That would reduce the company’s proposal to 18 turbines located on Black Nubble Mountain.

Harley Lee with Endless Energy told members of the Land Use Regulation Commission that his company will outline the smaller wind project in a soon-to-be-sent letter. Yarmouth-based Endless Energy formed Maine Mountain Power with a California company.

In offering the revision, Maine Mountain Power is seeking to salvage a project that, as currently proposed, faces almost certain rejection.

LURC board members surprised the applicants and project supporters when, in January, they requested that staff submit a document denying the proposal. LURC staff had recommended approving the $130 million project.

The project had divided environmentalists, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts in the state.

Supporters praised the Redington project as a way to produce enough clean, emissions-free energy to power up to 40,000 homes. But opponents predicted that the project would spoil the views from nearby Sugarloaf/USA ski resort and from the Appalachian Trail.

Lee said the company is also prepared to place the land on Redington Mountain in conservation.

LURC director Catherine Carroll said Wednesday that her staff is working to prepare a new recommendation on the original project in time for the commission’s June meeting.

It was unclear Wednesday how the commission would proceed with the application after receiving details of the proposed revisions.

By Kevin Miller


3 May 2007