FARMINGTON – State land regulators are expected to take a formal vote Wednesday on a proposal to add 11 more wind turbines to mountaintops in northern Franklin County.
Maine Land Use Regulation commissioners gave initial approval to TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc.’s proposal to increase the overall number of turbines, near the Canadian border, to 55 in December. Commissioner Rebecca Kurtz of Rangeley indicated then that she would oppose the permit at the Jan. 5 meeting for the expansion on Sisk Mountain ridges in Chain of Ponds and Kibby Township.
The commission is scheduled to address the Kibby expansion at 10 a.m., at Spectacular Event Center Maine, 395 Griffin Road, Interstate 95, Exit No. 184 in Bangor.
Initially, TransCanada proposed to construct 15 new turbines on Sisk Mountain, adjacent to the existing 44 turbines on Kibby Range and Kibby Mountain in Kibby and Skinner townships.
However, commissioners directed staff to draw up a denial to that size expansion in August 2010. TransCanada opted to submit an amended project application that dropped the four most southern turbines. The proposed 11-turbine project would be a 33-megawatt wind energy development to be sited within the state’s expedited permitting area for wind energy development along the ridgeline north of Sisk Mountain.
The overall estimate of cost for the existing and the new is about $400 million.
Opponents of the proposal are concerned over the adverse affect on natural resources such as the Subalpine Fir Forest and the Bicknell’s thrush and the scenic character of the area, including Arnold Trail.
Proponents of the project tout increased tax revenue, green energy and economic development.
The proposed new turbines would each be capable of generating 3 megawatts.
The total height of each tower, including blades, is about 410 feet.
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