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DEP wants public input on proposed wind farm

AURORA – The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold two public meetings on First Wind’s proposed new wind farm in Hancock County.

The first meeting will take place Thursday, March 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Airline Community School in Aurora (26 Great Pond Road).

First Wind’s initial project in the county, the 19-turbine Bull Hill wind farm in Township 16, began producing power last fall.

The Boston-based company now wants to build a second 18-turbine wind farm in the same area. Four of the turbines also would be in Township 16, while the other 14 would be in neighboring Township 22.

Those two townships abut the eastern edges of Eastbrook and Osborn, respectively.

DEP “will take the comments voiced at the public meeting into consideration as its review moves forward,” according to a press release from the agency. A second meeting will be held sometime before a final decision is made on the project, which will likely be this summer.

Projects such as this are now subject to two public meetings, according to DEP, in an effort to “improve transparency and increase inclusivity.” Before late 2011, only one such meeting was held.

First Wind submitted its application for the new wind farm to the state earlier this year. Because the project would be located entirely in unorganized territory, DEP and the Land Use Planning Commission are the groups reviewing the application.

The projected price tag for the new project, according to First Wind, is $110 million. Bull Hill, by comparison, had a price tag of about $76 million.