TransCanada Energy Ltd. representatives and others gave a tour this week of the area targeted for a proposed $270 million wind farm in Kibby and Skinner townships.
TransCanada has submitted a petition to the state Land Use Regulation Commission to rezone 2,908 acres to allow for a 44-turbine wind farm with access roads, transmission lines and other features.
The hearing on the proposal is scheduled Oct. 2-4 at Sugarloaf/USA, TransCanada Project Manager Nick Di domenico said.
Friends of the Boundary Mountains have filed for intervenor status to oppose the project, he said, while the Maine Audubon Society, Natural Resources Council of Maine and Appalachian Mountain Club have filed in favor of it.
The transmission line for the power, which would be offered in Maine first and then the rest of New England, would cross over Route 27, just south of the Jim Pond Township and Alder Stream Township line, and underground near the Appalachian Trail in Carrabassett Valley.
Some of the turbines would be seen from two different spots along Route 27, near Vine Road in Jim Pond Township and from the Sarampus Falls rest area in Alder Stream Township.
Thursday’s tour of the area began at an Appalachian Trail rest area off Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley, and traveled north. A right off Route 27 had the group in Chain of Ponds Township heading up Gold Brook Road, a logging road owned by the Plum Creek timber company that can be driven through to Canada, guides said.
TransCanada has an option of an easement on 67,000 acres of Plum Creek’s land with the footprint of the project across about 443 acres, with a permitted impact on about 100 acres, Christine Cinnamon of TransCanada said.
Seventeen to 19 turbines are planned for Kibby Mountain, and 25 to 27 on the horseshoe-shaped Kibby Ridge. Eleven of the turbines would be built below 2,700 feet, about nine at 3,000 feet and the highest at 3,210 feet. The remainder would be between 2,700 and 3,000 feet.
Nearly 19 miles of existing roads would be used and about 17 miles of new roads would be built.
A control station is planned at the bottom of Gold Brook Road to monitor the turbines, which would be hauled up the gravel road in pieces. The height of the towers, which would be painted white with synchronized-strobe lighting on some, would be about 410 feet.
The company completed environmental studies and left alone potential habitat for rare and endangered bird, plant and wildlife species, including the north part of Kibby Mountain, Cinnamon said.
“If you can’t build (a wind farm) here, where can you build one in this state?” Di domenico asked. “Just look around. It’s one of the premier wind sites in New England … It will fit harmoniously with existing forestry practices … A wind farm will fit quite harmoniously with whatever goes on.”
By Donna M. Perry
18 August 2007
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