November 6, 2007

Turbine project may grow

FREEDOM – The company planning to put three electricity-generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge has explored adding more.

Andy Price, project manager for Portland-based Competitive Energy Services, said his company explored the possibilities of adding more turbines with an abutting landowner.

Price declined to specify whether that exploration will continue in the future.

“At this point I want to leave it at the fact we have three turbines approved and we’re looking forward to proceeding with that,” Price said.

Steve Bennett, one of the nearby homeowners who has most vocally opposed the project, confirmed Monday that Competitive Energy officials called him on Oct. 19 about building additional turbines on his property.

“They asked me if I wanted to have one or two on my land,” Bennett said, adding that he was not interested but agreed to speak to neighbors to see if they favored the expansion. All the homeowners were opposed.

“I got back to (Competitive Energy) and told them unequivocally I had no interest in selling out my neighbors,” Bennett said. “I have absolutely no interest in any turbines.”

Price said Competitive Energy is still aiming for a 2008 deadline to finish the $10 million project, which calls for three 400-foot turbines to be placed on Beaver Ridge.

The planning board issued a building permit for the project in July after more than a year of debate.

Voters last year approved the town’s first commercial development review ordinance in response to Competitive Energy’s application, and the planning board approved the project after weeks of hearings.

But the board of appeals overturned the decision after abutters successfully argued the project did not meet standards for noise or bonding.

That decision was rendered moot, however, when voters agreed at a May special town meeting to repeal the commercial development review ordinance.

The move opened the door for Competitive Energy to reapply for a simple building permit, which the planning board issued in July.

Competitive Energy officials have repeatedly assured residents that the company would stick to the project the planning board approved using the commercial development review ordinance, and Price said the company is still planning to honor that commitment.

“Anything else would require us to go back to the town and there would be plenty of notice, but currently it’s just the three,” he said.

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

Morning Sentinel

6 November 2007

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