FRANKFORT, Maine – A strict wind energy ordinance that has been on the books in Frankfort since 2011 will stay there, after residents voted 362 to 224 against repealing it and replacing it with the state’s model wind energy ordinance.
With the vote, Frankfort residents closed the door on Portsmouth-based Eolian Renewable Energy’s proposal to return to the community to build a $30 million, six-turbine wind development atop Mount Waldo. The company’s years-long effort to put turbines on Mount Waldo was the impetus for the 2011 wind ordinance, and the debate over whether to let them try again has been marked by acrimony.
Some of the residents who wanted to keep the ordinance in place have said they don’t believe Eolian’s promises, which included giving a $100,000 community benefits package to the town every year. Others who opposed it believe the project would damage the environment and be dangerous to residents. The strict wind ordinance passed in 2011 by just 22 votes.
“[It] would be devastating to the town,” resident MaryBeth Hewett said last week of overturning the wind ordinance.
Those who favored overturning the ordinance cited their belief in private property rights – Mount Waldo is privately owned – and in the merit of renewable energy sources like wind.
“By denying the merit of renewable resources and running a smear campaign, those opposed to wind power are establishing nothing but a bad reputation,” resident Chester Martin told the BDN last week.
An anonymously-run Facebook page titled “Town of Frankfort, Maine Community Page” was filled Wednesday morning with comments lauding the vote and dismissive of those who favored overturning the ordinance.
Efforts Wednesday to contact Eolian representatives were unsuccessful.
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