GRAND FALLS TOWNSHIP, Maine – A Texas-based developer of a 14-turbine industrial wind-to-electricity site proposed for Passadumkeag Mountain will get more time to answer questions regarding its proposal, state officials said Friday.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday that it had granted the request from Passadumkeag Windpark LLC, a subsidiary of Quantum Utility Generation of Texas, said James R. Beyer, a regional licensing and compliance manager with Maine DEP.
The company’s consultants emailed DEP officials on Tuesday seeking an extension on the DEP’s decision deadline from Aug. 30 to Oct. 5, said Samantha Depoy-Warren, DEP spokeswoman.
“That basically stops the clock until Oct. 5,” Depoy-Warren said Friday. “This is a decision made by the applicant.”
Brooke Barnes, a senior project manager with Stantec Consulting Services, which is advising Quantum on its proposal, said the commission would likely need more time to review the additional information the applicant needs to provide.
“I anticipate that the majority of additional information will be filed prior to September 15,” Barnes wrote in his email.
Depoy-Warren said several questions have been raised where “additional information would be useful to our review.” She did not elaborate. Barnes did not immediately return telephone messages left Friday.
The site’s turbines would be 459 feet from base to extended blade tip. Each turbine would generate 3 megawatts of electricity, according to the company’s proposal. Electricity would be collected in a 34.5-kilovolt line to run about 17 miles from Passadumkeag Ridge along Greenfield Road through Summit Township, Greenfield Township and Greenbush.
The project would include a substation in Greenbush and a connection to an existing 115-kilovolt transmission line on Greenbush Road.
Residents opposing the project and anti-wind-power advocates have dominated the DEP meetings devoted to the subject. They have said the project would blight the mountain landscape, reduce property values, severely damage the tourism-based businesses in the area, threaten wildlife and discomfit residents with the vibrations, noise and strobe lights the turbines would generate or use.
They also have raised the possibility of turbine malfunctions sparking forest fires.
Penobscot County commissioners delayed approving a tax break deal for the project, saying they wanted to see how DEP would handle the project.
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