December 25, 2012

Maine producing enough wind power to supply 175,000 homes

But it's on pace to fall short of the state's goals for wind generation by 2015 and 2020.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Blades rotate on a wind turbine on Maine's Stetson Mountain in this July 2009 file photo. Wind power generated in Maine is now producing nearly 500 megawatts, enough to supply the average needs of 175,000 households. However, it's still well short of the state's goal for wind generation by 2015. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

"We don't expect an application before 2014," said Mark Bergeron, director of DEP's Division of Land Resources Regulation.

Meanwhile, the DEP is reviewing First Wind's revised application to build a wind farm on Bowers Mountain straddling Penobscot and Washington counties in eastern Maine. The new plan envisions 16 instead of 27 turbines as originally proposed, and placing them in less visible locations.

Permits have been approved for First Wind's Oakfield project in Aroostook County and Patriot Renewables' Saddleback Ridge in Oxford County, but those approvals are being challenged by citizen opposition groups. Patriot's Canton Mountain project, also in Oxford County, is under DEP review. The Pisgah Mountain Windpower in Penobscot County is also being challenged.

Independence Wind's Highland proposal for a 39-turbine, 117-megawatt project in Somerset County has been withdrawn, and Noble Environmental Power LLC's Passadumkeag Wind Park proposal in Penobscot County has been denied.

Wind power produced in Maine is fed into the regional grid, but some stays in the state, Payne said. A 2011 power purchase agreement keeps Mars Hill power in northern Maine, and part of the Rollins wind deal was to keep power in Maine.

"Developers stand ready to sign more of these contracts" to keep Maine-generated wind power in the state, Payne said.


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