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Regulatory staff backs Washington County wind farm  

The proposed 38-turbine Stetson Mountain wind-power project in eastern Maine has won the endorsement of the staff of a state development regulatory agency, setting the stage for a vote next week on what would become New England’s largest project of its kind.

The staff of the Land Use Regulation Commission cites the project’s economic impact on Washington County, by many measures the state’s poorest, and the environmental benefits of additional wind power in Maine. The LURC board is to vote on the project next Wednesday.

The $100 million project, which would be built on Stetson Mountain between Danforth and Springfield in northern Washington County, would generate about 57 megawatts for the New England power grid.

The applicant, Evergreen Wind Power LLC, has already built the region’s largest operating wind farm.

The 28-turbine Mars Hill, Maine, project started generating power earlier this year.

Evergreen is a subsidiary of UPC Wind Management of Newton, Mass.

Two other major wind-power projects, both in western Maine, are also proposed. TransCanada’s proposal for a 44-turbine wind farm on Kibby Mountain near Maine’s border with Canada is pending. Maine Mountain Power LLC wants to build 18 turbines on Black Nubble Mountain.

On Stetson Mountain, Evergreen wants to rezone about 4,800 acres for its project, but plans call for permanently altering 33 acres.

The 38 turbines would rise along 6 to 7 miles on the ridge line. The turbines would be nearly 400 feet tall from the base to tip and be visible from some homes and roads in the sparsely populated area.

While some local residents have expressed concerns about the project’s impact on wildlife and scenery, noise and potential for damage to wells, it has gained support of environmentalists.

Supporters of the project say it would supply enough power for 27,500 Maine households annually.

“It has a fairly minimal environmental impact, it is in a good wind resource area … and it moves Maine that much closer to the goal of harvesting more of the resources of renewable energy,” said Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Maine office.

If the LURC board approves the project next week, final plans will have to be reviewed by the state before construction can begin.

Kennebec Journal

2 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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