BROOKSVILLE, Maine – Residents here voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a wind power ordinance that likely means the Hancock County town will be off-limits to commercial wind energy facilities.
Voters endorsed the “Wind Energy Systems Ordinance” by a vote of 274 to 111, according to unofficial results provided Tuesday night by town officials. The ordinance was intended to be proactive since there are no pending applications for commercial wind power facilities in the community.
The new rules prohibit all wind turbines with towers standing taller than 100 feet, thereby banning the massive, 250- to 300-foot-tall towers used by most grid-scale wind energy companies in Maine.
Smaller wind turbines, such as those erected by homeowners and businesses, would still be allowed within town but would have to receive approval from either the code enforcement officer or the planning board, depending on the power output of the turbine. The maximum generation capacity allowed under the ordinance is 50 kilowatts.
Additionally, the ordinance adopts noise standards for wind turbines that are stricter than those currently required by the state. Turbines will be prohibited from generating in excess of 35 decibels for any continuous, 5-minute period – except during unusual weather events – as measured from neighboring properties. That standard is also more stringent than new, 42-decibel standards proposed by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.