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Maine governor is expected to sign fast-track wind siting bill  

Maine Governor John Baldacci is expected to sign this week a bill that creates fast-track review of wind farms and sets a goal to develop 3,000 MW of wind energy by 2020.

The bill – which passed the state’s House and Senate unanimously on Friday and becomes law as soon as the governor signs it – is based on a February governor’s task force report that called for designating about two-thirds of the state as an area where wind farms would undergo quick state review.

The legislation requires that the state limit project review in the fast-track zone to no more than 185 days, unless a public hearing is necessary, which extends the cut off to 270 days. In contrast, state regulatory review for some Maine wind projects has taken years.

The bill also makes it more difficult to block a project because of its impact on scenic views.

The state sets a goal of developing 2,000 MW of wind energy by 2015 and 3,000 MW by 2020, with at least 300 MW from offshore wind.

Maine is considered key to renewable energy development in New England because it has large undeveloped areas and as much wind energy potential as all of the other five states in the region combined, the wind task force report said.


14 April 2008

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