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State permits 18 more First Wind turbines in Hancock County

TOWNSHIP 22, Maine – First Wind has received final approval from the state to erect 18 more turbines in northeastern Hancock County.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued its approval for the Hancock Wind project on July 22. The project will abut First Wind’s Bull Hill Wind project in Township 16, which was constructed last year. Four of the 18 turbines approved for Hancock Wind will be on the eastern slope of Bull Hill in Township 16 while the rest will be erected on Schoppe and Spectacle Pond ridges in Township 22.

Each of the 18 turbines is expected to have a generating capacity of 3 megawatts for a total project capacity of 54 megawatts, according to the order signed last week by DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. The turbines are expected to be approximately 500 feet tall at the highest point of the rotating blades. The total cost of the project is expected to be $110 million.

According to information in the order provided by the company, the construction phase of the project is expected to create approximately 100 full-time jobs while ongoing maintenance and operation of the turbines is expected to create three to six permanent jobs. First Wind predicts the turbines will have an average annual output of 150,000 megawatt-hours, which is enough to power about 24,000 homes, according to the document.

The project is expected to use existing logging roads in the area, including some that were upgraded during construction of the Bull Hill project, but additional clearing will be needed for other road upgrades and power line installation. The company also plans to erect two meteorological towers and to construct an operations and maintenance building in the adjacent town of Aurora, the document indicates.

A First Wind spokesman did not immediately reply Monday morning to a email requesting comment on the project’s approval.