James Morin, a consultant representing Central Maine Power, addresses the Buxton Planning Board Monday. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Central Maine Power Company got the green light Monday to expand its switchyard in Buxton after unanimous approval by the planning board.

But CMP has two more hurdles to clear.

“There’s still a time period to go through with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers,” Planning
Board Chairperson Keith Emery said.

“They can’t build until all requirements are met,” Planning Board Vice Chairperson Chris Baldinelli said.

The switchyard project, a 4.2-acre facility, will be built on 79 acres CMP owns and the site will be accessible through Henry Hill Road and Emery Circle.

CMP’s upgrade includes a pair of single-story, pre-fabricated metal buildings and three new transformers, according to consultant, James Morin, who represented CMP at the Monday’s meeting. Morin said after the meeting the transformers weigh “several ton.”

When asked about the cost Catharine Hartnett, CMP communications manager replied, “There is no cost yet associated as the contracts to build the facility have not yet been constructed.”

Harnett also declined to give a ballpark estimate.

“All we know, it will be in the millions,” Emery said.

Buxton resident Adam Ouellette of Emery Circle, citing noise as a problem at other substations, opposed  the plan. “I don’t want to see this expansion happen,” Ouellette said. “It will impact my property.”

CMP representatives guaranteed the facility will meet the town’s noise ordinance, however.

According to Hartnett, “The Buxton Dynamic Reactive Device is a voltage regulator project that will provide stability and reliability to the service in the area, particularly in light of the growing number of distributed generation (solar) projects coming on line in the region.”

“Regulating voltage on the transmission system is critical to providing adequate load and preventing what might be considered power surges that could damage customer property or company facilities.”

Construction crews will be allowed to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The Planning Board required the heaviest construction vehicles to utilize Henry Hill Road.

In other planning board action, a public hearing will be held on the $25 million Emery Meadow Solar Station at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9 at Buxton Town Hall. The board also scheduled a site walk for a proposed 16-unit mobile home park at 476 Parker Farm Road for 6:15 p.m. Thursday, July 22.

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