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Longroad Wind farm project advances

ELLSWORTH – A $140-million, 22-wind turbine project involving four Hancock County towns is moving forward.

Longroad Energy Partners, which is developing the project, submitted an application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Oct. 31, said Mark Bergeron, director of the DEP’s Bureau of Land Resources.

“One of the first steps that we take is to review the information to see that it’s complete for processing – have they submitted all the necessary materials?” Bergeron said.

Eventually, all of the application materials will be posted on the DEP’s website for public viewing. Company officials have said they plan to start construction next year if permits are approved. Review of such applications generally takes around six months.

Eight of the proposed turbines would be located in Eastbrook and 14 in Osborn. Maintenance and operations would be conducted in Aurora and an existing substation in Township 16 would be upgraded to handle the increased capacity from the project.

The plans are a revival of a 2015 project, Weaver Wind, which Longroad Energy Partners pulled after the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife raised concerns regarding a lack of data regarding potential fatalities of migratory birds.

“We have spent years collecting information about what’s going on using radar technology to track bird migration during the spring and fall,” said Matt Kearns, chief development officer at Longroad.

If approved, the turbines would be some of the world’s tallest, measuring 591 feet from ground to blade tip. With a combined maximum capacity totaling 72.6 megawatts, the project would boost Maine’s total wind generating power around 7 percent. If the turbines are as efficient as the company has predicted, they will generate enough electricity to provide energy for around 40,000 homes each year.