On June 9, Dixfield voters have the opportunity to vote “yes” for a well-crafted wind energy facility ordinance. I would like to address some of the adjustments to that ordinance.
One important change requires decommissioning costs to be placed in escrow before the project begins. That is a common practice for oil, gas, nuclear, hydroelectric and other energy providers. It is good business sense and protects the town from removal expenses of aged turbines.
The original ordinance allows a nighttime decibel level of 42; revision allows for lower levels. Recently, Maine Justice Warren Silver wrote that nighttime decibel levels from wind turbines should be 42 or below. At 42 decibels, the sound level is comparable to having someone quietly talking nonstop while you try to sleep.
Right now, Patriot Renewables has a $2.9 million abatement request (30 percent of assessed value) for its 6-year-old Beaver Ridge Wind facility in Freedom. They contend that the town should have factored 5 percent yearly depreciation into the value of its wind farm.
That points to another issue to consider; while proximate property values risk depreciation from wind turbines, Patriot Renewables itself will be claiming depreciation and, thus, fewer taxes.
When residents cast their votes, they should remember that Patriot Renewables is in business to make money. It is not a benevolent charity. Jay Cashman’s American dream includes profit via construction of turbines and sale of energy.
I hope residents will vote yes” so Dixfield will have a wind ordinance that protects its citizens’ own American dreams.
Nancy Johnson, Dixfield
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