The Land Use Regulation Commission of Lincoln, Maine will vote to deny a request by First Wind of Boston to build more than two dozen wind turbines in Carroll and Kossuth, adjacent to the headwaters of the Downeast Lakes region.
A press release put out by the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed, which led the opposition to the project, argued that the Bowers Mountain Wind Project’s 47-foot-tall turbines would hurt the area’s scenic value, as well as several lakes used for paddling and fishing, as well as “numerous sporting camps, lodges, professional guides, and ancillary support businesses that are the lifeblood of the area.”
According to the press release, First Wind had tried to withdraw the application in December when the LURC seemed likely to deny the project. The commission instead gave the company a 90-day extension to reconfigure the project. First Wind ultimately was unable to do so, and on Friday, the LURC denied the request to withdraw the application. A final vote denying the initial project is expected on May 4.
“Today’s vote shows that Maine is not willing to sacrifice this magnificent natural resource for a few megawatts of expensive and intermittent wind energy,” said PPDLW member Gary Campbell said late Friday.
In a written statement, First Wind said they are in the process of revising the project, and hope to file another application.
“We had hoped to withdraw the application because we’re in the process of revising the project so as to address some of the commission’s concerns,” said John Lamontagne, director of corporate communications for First Wind. “We intend to file a new application and it will be substantially different than the plan that the commission already reviewed. We continue to believe that this project is a good one that will bring significant benefits to the region, and we believe landowners and local officials agree.”
Last week, the company marked the five-year anniversary of the first utility-scale wind project in Maine, called Mars Hill Wind. The company says the project has produced more than 627,000 megawatt-hours of energy and generated approximately $2.5 million in tax revenue for the town of Mars Hill. It was the first of several projects across Maine, including First Wind’s Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County and the Stetson Wind I and II projects in Washington County.
First Wind last month received $236 million in financing for 69 megawatt Kawailoa Wind project, which, when completed, will be the largest wind energy facility in Hawaii. The company also received approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in January for its proposed 150 megawatt Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine, where it could create 300 local construction jobs. First Wind now has a total of four operational projects in Maine and eight projects in the Northeast.
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