Prospective developers of a wind farm near the Canadian border in Western Maine said Tuesday they hope to begin construction this summer and have all 44 turbines up and running by 2010.
TransCanada Maine Wind Development hopes all permits will be approved in time to start construction in northern Franklin County this summer, Nick Di Domenico, project manager, said Tuesday.
If that happens, TransCanada hopes to have some of the windmills running in 2009 and all of them turning a year later, he said.
TransCanada’s project cleared a major regulatory hurdle on Monday when the Land Use Regulation Commission unanimously approved the Canadian company’s application to rezone 2,367 acres for the project.
Before construction begins, TransCanada must also submit a final development plan to LURC, which regulates projects in Maine’s unorganized territories.
The final development plan will be a more detailed version of the rezoning application, which covered impacts on land and wildlife. But Di Domenico said much of the detail was covered in the application approved Monday.
Before their vote Monday ordering the LURC staff to prepare a report recommending approval, board members commented that the rezoning application was complete and thorough. Di Domenico said Tuesday that TransCanada was gratified by that reaction.
“A lot of effort on the part of a lot of people, and a lot of time and money” went into the application, Di Domenico said.
TransCanada’s project and a separate wind project came before LURC as members of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development in Maine worked on a report that could recommend changes in the way large-scale projects are reviewed and permitted.
A report by the 16-member task force was due on Tuesday, but it could not be completed because members had not reached a consensus on what changes should be recommended to the Legislature, said the panel’s chairman, Alec Giffen, director of the Maine Forest Service.
“We have spent a lot of time on what should be the process for wind power siting in Maine,” said Giffen.
LURC on Monday rejected Maine Mountain Power’s proposal for an 18-turbine project on Black Nubble Mountain, also in Western Maine.
One of the project’s principals, Harley Lee, said he hopes a new process that could emerge from the task force could revive Maine Mountain’s proposal.
Lee is president of Endless Energy Co. of Yarmouth, which partnered with Edison Mission Group of California to form Maine Mountain Power.
16 January 2008
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