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Dixfield should have a voice  

Credit:  Rumford Falls Times | www.rumfordfallstimes.com 16 March 2012 ~~

I would like to first set the record straight. After my letter to the editor (Citizens of Dixfield need answers) was published in the Rumford Falls Times, I received a call the next day from Tom Carroll, who is employed by Patriot Renewable. I received some answers to my questions but they are not very promising for the taxpayers in the Town of Dixfield. One would be led to believe when contemplating a project of this magnitude someone would be able to provide some solid fact based answers but that was not the case.

Tom Carroll informed me a $40 million, 20 megawatt (mw) project is being considered, which could mean ten 2 mw turbine or eight 2.5 mw turbines since the existing power lines could only handle the 20 mw project. (Just remember the $40 million is based on massive federally subsidized

funding ie: Your tax dollars. If Maine constructs 360 miles of mountaintop industrial wind towers, $5 billion of your money will be placed in the bank accounts of the wind developers.

I was informed that the base of a single turbine is 290-feet high and the blades are an additional 110-feet long. That is 400-feet towering above the ridgeline and don’t forget the flashing lights on each turbine.

If you want to see what it will look like, especially for Common Road residents, just take a drive up Route 17 into Roxbury and you will get the idea or drive west on Route 2. After you pass the Dixfield Police Department look to your left at the top of the hill intersecting with Abbott Hill Road to see the Woodstock project.

Tom Carroll stated prior to entering into any type of contract for construction that Patriot Renewable would have to erect a radar system on the ridge line and monitor it for a full year to obtain an “Avian Bird Study”. This is to ascertain whether the wind project would adversely affect the migratory flight patterns of any migratory birds. (I’m not sure if it counts, but I see Canadian geese flying along the edge of the fields in my backyard and near the fields by the boat launch on the Canton Point Road every October / November.)

I was informed the new transmission lines would be established along the eastern side of the Colonel Holman ridgeline.

Tom Carroll stated approximately three permanent jobs might be created for the Carthage, Dixfield and Canton wind projects, yes you read correctly, that is three total jobs not three jobs for each project and these would most likely be “turbine engineer” jobs. Not many permanent jobs for locals. (I wonder how many Roxbury / Woodstock residents have been hired in a full time permanent capacity following the establishment of the wind farms in their towns)

Tom Carroll informed me that there would be restricted access to the road leading to the turbines and 50 feet on either side of access road. (Restricted to public access, ATV, snowmobiles, hunting, hiking, etc.)

Tom Carroll informed me Patriot Renewable would pay $4,000 to the town per turbine x 10 = $40,000 or x 8 = $32,000.

Although I was informed each wind turbine can provide enough energy to power 1,000 homes, there will be no energy savings to the citizens of Dixfield. No free energy. No reduced electricity. Period! In fact, due to the high cost of producing wind energy your electric could increase.

Tom Carroll could not give me an exact location where towers will be placed other than they won’t be near the turnout at the top of Colonel Holman Mountain. In all fairness the Town of Dixfield has not entered into any type of contract so Patriot Renewable has not established where the turbines will be placed at this time.

Tom Carroll stated Patriot Renewable will lease the land from Thorndike’s. Tom Carroll stated the wind company has purchased or plans to purchase 1000 acres for the Carthage project.

Tom Carroll stated approximately half acre will be cleared per turbine yet former Gov Angus King stated approximately four acres will be cleared per turbine resulting in direct destruction of habitat and displacement of wildlife. (Again with the inconsistencies). Tom Carroll stated Patriot Renewable LLC has no affiliation with the Roxbury project.

Tom Carroll did not provide an answer regarding how much money Patriot Renewable will make per turbine per year by selling the wind generated energy captured in Dixfield to out of state consumers but I venture it will be far more than $4,000 per turbine.

This is clearly a money making scheme for Patriot Renewable who, along with other industrial wind projects, are acquiring as much federal funding as they can before it is no longer available since they cannot stand “financially” on their own. The wind companies are the only entity reaping major financial rewards for the destruction of our land. (Does ENRON ring a bell).

Are you prepared to allow this senseless destruction to Dixfield’s land and scenic beauty for mere pennies on the dollar? Why are we allowing these LLC’s to come in and decimate our mountain tops and land to provide energy for other states? This makes no sense to me.

Rumford had the right idea when they enacted their new wind ordinance and Dixfield should adopt that same language in the creation of our own wind ordinance.

We, the citizens of Dixfield, should have a voice in the creation of this wind ordinance and not allow the State of Maine DEP to dictate how a wind project should be built in our town. Dixfield needs a responsible wind ordinance that protects its citizens, their health, their quality of life, their property values, their tax base, the wildlife and the scenic beauty of our mountains. We need to voice our opinion and concerns to protect our interests since the selectmen and town manager have failed in this endeavor.

If the wind project is approved (taxpayers can vote no to stop this) there will be an increase in town valuation, which in turn will increase county taxes and school appropriations, so even though you realize a two-year reduction in property tax, after the third year your taxes begin to increase.

A TIF (Targeted Incremental Financing) is a way of shielding the increased valuation to your town that a project (like turbines) normally brings, from the state, the county and the local school system.

I’ll say it again, TIF money can’t be used to reduced property taxes and can only be used for state approved economic development projects. The Town of Dixfield won’t even control whether or not any economic development plans are approved as it is under state control.

The only way to reduce property taxes is if the town selectmen approve a portion of the TIF money from the project and appropriate that money to the general fund. This process has to be written out legally in an approved contract. (The TIF money can’t be used to pay for the legal counsel to review and draft this contract either).

The bottom line is that mountaintop industrial wind energy is far more expensive than conventional sources of energy such as natural gas and hydro-power. If you add the cost of the necessary new transmission lines and associated facilities, the price of wind created energy increases.

The Maine wind developers boast about their contribution of approximately $800 million spent to date on industrial wind in Maine. However they fail to mention that most of this money was provided by federal government subsidies, again our tax dollars.

Mountaintop industrial wind use will not reduce our consumption of oil and will not reduce green house gas emissions. Only 1 percent of the electricity in the United States is produced by oil. In Maine we have two oil-fired electric power plants, which, because of the high expense, are only used when peak demand outstrips supply. Three separate studies have now documented that industrial wind does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a simple concept to understand. Since wind energy is intermittent and unreliable, it cannot be counted on, and thus requires backup fossil fuel power availability.

When the wind blows, a fossil fuel plant has to be turned down or off. When the wind stops blowing (which can vary on a minute-to-minute basis), the power source has to be ramped up again. It is equivalent to driving in stop-and-go traffic – more fuel is consumed and greater amounts of carbon are emitted.

Due to the high cost of wind energy sold out of state, there will inevitably be an increase in electricity costs.

There are numerous documented health concerns caused from the noise, vibrations and reflective flicker effect of wind turbines and blades.

People living within two miles of any wind project can expect an immediate 20 to 40 percent reduction in property values.

Maine’s own Governor Lepage disapproves and does not support wind energy as it is currently proposed in the State of Maine. “The majority of these ‘green jobs’ are temporary. In reality, these mandates and subsidies will result in a net loss of jobs and increase your electricity costs. It simply is not feasible to create jobs in industries that depend on government welfare and it is not a sustainable way to stimulate the economy,” he said.

Wind project by wind project, Maine is losing it’s most unique tourist attraction (scenic beauty and tranquility). If we continue on this path of majestic destruction we should vote to adopt a new state slogan that should read: Maine – the way life used to be.

Hart Daley,

Dixfield

Source:  Rumford Falls Times | www.rumfordfallstimes.com 16 March 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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