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Board listens to wind turbine idea in Farmington

FARMINGTON – Representatives of Associated Wind Developers discussed their potential plans to bring four midsized wind turbines to property owned by Bailey Farm at an informational presentation to the Planning Board on Monday.

The site is off Davis Road and near Bailey Hill. It’s in fields where the land can still be farmed traditionally but also used for wind turbines, owner Konrad Bailey said after the meeting.

The project is in the concept stage, Matt Damon of Associated Wind Developers in Plymouth, Mass., said. The company is looking to potentially start building the turbines in the spring of 2012 and have them running by next fall.

While now in the process of researching whether the project is viable and gaining a sense of the community’s feelings, Damon thought the company would be ready to make a public presentation and start the licensing process within 30 to 60 days.

The board asked questions but no action was required Monday. A site review and public forum will take place before any vote, Chair Clayton King reminded the board and a few neighbors to the project who came to hear the presentation.

The view of farms and hills now seen could change, nearby Osborne Road resident Brian Demshar said, voicing concerns because his home overlooks the proposed site.

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” said Brian Kuhn, who gave the company’s PowerPoint presentation for the board. He said, for him, the sight is a moving piece of sculpture that provides savings and energy, but he admitted for another it could be considered an eyesore.

The American-made 750-kilowatt, mid-scale electric wind turbines stand 298 feet compared to the 460-feet of the larger units. The turbines sit on a 65-meter tower and have a 54-meter diameter yet produce enough kilowatts to power 3,000 households, Kuhn said.

The proposed site is a quarter-mile from the nearest home, a place where cows can still pasture around the turbines sitting on cement bases, he said. No buildings are needed, only a couple transformers and the turbines.

The proposed project would meet and go beyond the requirements now in the town’s drafted but unapproved wind ordinance, Damon said.

Currently looking for potential customers and investors, the company is working with utilities in a plan to tie in to Central Maine Power lines south of the Davis Road site.

The Aeronautica Wind Power turbines are built in Durham, N.H., while the tower and blades are made in Michigan and Indiana, Damon said. The USA-made product with higher manufacturing costs provides a substantial savings in shipping costs over the Asian-made products while providing nearby part replacements for the units, he added.

Associated Wind Developers has been in business for four years, recently completing its first project in Chicago. It is in the planning process for several sites throughout the Northeast.