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TransCanada's wind power project goes to public hearing

State land use regulators will hold a public hearing Oct. 2-4 on a petition to rezone about 2,908 acres for TransCanada’s proposed commercial wind energy project in far northern Franklin County.

TransCanada Energy Ltd. wants to build a $270 million, 44-turbine wind power facility on the southern portion of Kibby Mountain and on Kibby Range Mountain in Kibby and Skinner townships north of Eustis and south of Canada.

The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Sugarloaf Grand Summit Conference Center at 5092 Access Road, in Carrabassett Valley.

Opening statements, administrative history, TransCanada’s summary of its proposal and cross-examination followed by summaries of direct testimony and cross-examination will be heard. At 6 p.m., public testimony will follow opening statements and an overview of the project.

The second day of the hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the same place, with opening statements and summaries of direct testimony by intervenors and cross-examination.

Public testimony will follow the same agenda as Tuesday with it scheduled to begin 6 p.m. After the closing statement Wednesday night, the period to receive oral public testimony ends.

There is mixed reaction to TransCanada’s proposal, that includes rezoning the nearly 3,000 acres to a planned development subdistrict from mountain area protection and general management subdistricts.

Friends of the Boundary Mountains have filed for intervenor status to oppose the project, and Maine Audubon Society, Natural Resources Council of Maine and Appalachian Mountain Club have filed in favor of it.

TransCanada has an option for an easement on 67,000 acres of Plum Creek land. The footprint of the project is about 443 acres, with a permitted impact on about 100 acres.

The wind turbines, including blades, will be about 410 feet high. TransCanada wants 17 to 19 turbines to be installed on Kibby Mountain, and 25 to 27 installed on the wishbone-shaped Kibby Ridge. Eleven of the turbines would be sited 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 transmission line would run above and below ground in different sections along Route 27.

By Donna M. Perry
Staff Writer


28 September 2007