CARRABASSETT VALLEY – A proposal to build a wind farm big enough to provide power for every household in Franklin, Oxford and Somerset Counties will go before the public this week.
The Land Use Regulation Commission has scheduled three days of public hearings for a proposal to rezone two parcels of land to build the Kibby Wind Power Project. The hearing will take place at the Sugarloaf Grand Summit Conference Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
If the proposal is approved, construction on 44 wind turbines, each roughly 41 stories high, could begin on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in Franklin County in early 2008, according to TransCanada, the Canadian energy company that has proposed the project.
The installation would be the biggest of its type in Maine, with a capacity of about 132 megawatts, roughly three times the size of the 42-megawatt wind power project in Mars Hill.
While other wind farms have been controversial – the 90 megawatt Redington Wind Farm was rejected earlier this year by the Land Use Regulation Commission and a slimmed down version of the same project was strongly opposed by many environmental groups in hearings last month – the Kibby project has elicited support from several of the state’s largest environmental advocate organizations.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Audubon have come out in support of the project.
TransCanada has said it did extensive environmental studies of the area, looking at the project’s impact on vernal pools, wetlands, bird migrations, bats and other sensitive species.
Kibby Township was also the site of a proposed wind power project which went before regulators in the mid-1990’s. That project was approved but never built.
Federal tax incentives and a premium for wind power offered by some New England states have encouraged the submission of several wind power projects in Maine, which has the strongest wind source in the energy-hungry Northeast.
By Alan Crowell
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
1 October 2007
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