Just as they did a year ago, Maine land use regulators voted Monday to turn down a wind-power projects on Black Nubble Mountain in western Maine, one of two such projects before them.
The Land Use Regulation Commission voted 4-2 to recommend rejecting Maine Mountain Power’s plan for an 18-turbine project in Redington and Wyman townships, saying the wind farm would mar the view in the western Maine mountains.
“I’m disappointed,” said Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy, one of the two companies comprising Maine Mountain Power. Lee said he was not surprised, given the commission’s decision a year ago to overturn a staff recommendation and reject a much larger version of the project that also included turbines on Redington Mountain.
Lee said he was not giving up on the project, and expressed hope that a new process that’s being discussed to review future wind projects can revive Maine Mountain’s proposal.
On Monday afternoon, the commission was to consider a preliminary plan by TransCanada Maine Wind Development and Plum Creek Maine Timberlands to rezone more than 2,300 acres for a 44-turbine project in Kibby and Skinner townships. That project is also in Franklin County.
Maine already has one major wind power project on Mars Hill and another one is under construction on Stetson Mountain in eastern Maine.
Maine Mountain, a joint venture of Endless Energy Co. in Yarmouth and Edison Mission Group of California, said its Black Nubble project was an improvement to an earlier, 30-turbine project that would have also included towers on Redington Mountain.
A year ago, LURC rejected the previous project as too intrusive on sensitive environmental areas and unsightly from the Appalachian Trail. Some doubts remained on LURC members’ minds Monday.
Commissioner Edward Laverty opened Monday’s session by questioning how the project became financially viable after it was scaled back from 30 turbines last year. He also raised the issue of funding for decommissioning.
Commissioner Gwen Hilton said she was concerned that approval of the Black Nubble project would suggest LURC is also poised to give a “green light” to other western Maine wind projects. Others said they still had questions about the visual impact on the nearby Appalachian Trail, and said they were puzzled by contradictory testimony on some issues before them.
By Glenn Adams
14 January 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding