CANTON – Town residents and a few from neighboring towns got a first chance Tuesday night to learn about a seven turbine, $36 million proposed project for Canton Mountain.
Patriot Renewables LLC, the Quincy, Mass., company that also has wind projects in various stages of development in neighboring Carthage, Dixfield and Woodstock, brought along simulated views of the turbines on the 1,500-foot mountain from various locations around town. The project, if built, would sit on a portion of about 1,000 acres of leased land.
Andy Novey, project manager, said it is currently in the design phase. Some of the wildlife and wetland studies have been completed, although more are planned for spring. If all studies are complete, he said his company would submit the project application to the state Department of Environmental Protection during the summer.
The Planning Board is currently reviewing a plan by Patriot Renewables to build a power substation on two acres of a 30-acre parcel off Ludden Lane. That plan was submitted to the DEP in November when the firm submitted its application for the Saddleback Mountain wind project in neighboring Carthage.
The long-range plan by Patriot Renewables is to cycle power generated by wind turbines in Carthage, Canton and Dixfield to the substation, which would then add that power to the nearby Central Maine Power line and then onto the New England grid.
Alden Hill Road resident Elise Despres lives across the Androscoggin River within sight of the planned turbines.
“I’m trying to keep an open mind. But the project would spoil the view of Canton Mountain,” she said.
Dean Pakulski lives on the Jay side of Canton Mountain. He said he is a wind power supporter because it is renewable energy.
“Anytime there’s something new, the pros and cons must be evaluated. I think it would be a good thing in the long run. Electric cars are on the market, and electric furnaces are coming on line. The price for natural gas and oil aren’t going down. If there are alternatives, that’s a good thing,” he said.
Rob Walker, a Jewett Hill Road resident, likes the idea of a wind project coming to Canton.
“It would be infrastructure for the town, and tax money. I don’t mind seeing windmills,” he said.
Selectman Donna Hebert said she had seen many wind farms in other parts of the world and country.
“There’s not a lot of noise and no illness. I don’t see anything wrong with them. Anything to cut the electric bill,” she said.
A group of wind turbine development opponents from Dixfield and Carthage also attended Tuesday’s session. They passed out leaflets announcing a free public supper set for March 10 in Dixfield prior to an informational meeting by the DEP.
Planning Board Chairwoman Kathy Hutchins said when the proposed wind project comes before the board, a number of conditions, such as a bond for removal of the turbines when they are no longer needed, will likely be placed on it prior to granting site plan approval.
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