The Land Use Regulation Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday evening on an energy company’s plans to build a $100 million wind farm in northern Washington County.
The commission will begin hearing public comments on the proposed Stetson Mountain wind farm at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lee Academy in the town of Lee. LURC will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to hear from the developer, Evergreen Wind Power, and officially recognized parties.
Evergreen Wind Power, a subsidiary of UPC Wind Management, is seeking LURC authorization to build what would be New England’s largest wind farm on a ridgeline that runs alongside Route 169 about halfway between Springfield and Danforth.
The company hopes to erect 38 wind turbines along a logging road that traverses Stetson Mountain. Each turbine is expected to stand nearly 400 feet tall from base to blade tip, making it possible to see the towers from miles around, including from parts of Baskahegan Lake and several other lakes and ponds.
Representatives with UPC Wind Management have predicted that the Stetson wind farm could generate 57 megawatts of electricity that would feed into the New England power grid. That would be enough pollution-free energy to power 27,500 Maine households, helping avert more than 100,000 tons of air pollution annually, according to the developer.
UPC Wind also operates Maine’s only sizable wind-energy facility: the Mars Hill wind farm in Aroostook County. Fully operational since March, the Mars Hill facility, with its massive turbines, is becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction for the area.
But some neighbors of the Mars Hill wind farm have complained about noise from the turbines and the facility’s visual impact.
The Stetson Mountain project has been endorsed by the Washington County commissioners as well as the Conservation Law Foundation, Maine Audubon and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Some local residents have expressed concerns about the effect on scenery and wildlife, noise from the turbines and routing of power lines.
Lee Academy is located at 26 Winn Road in Lee, west of Lincoln.
By Kevin Miller
4 August 2007
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