NRCM news release
Today, Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission made two important decisions on the future of wind power in Maine. “The Commission could have taken two steps forward on clean energy for Maine; instead they took one,” said NRCM Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees.
The Land Use Regulation Commission voted 4-2 to recommend rejecting Maine Mountain Power’s plan for an 18-turbine 54 MW project on Black Nubble Mountain. LURC unanimously supported a preliminary plan by TransCanada Maine Wind Development for a 44-turbine 132 MW project on Kibby Mountain. Both wind projects were proposed for Franklin County.
“We applaud the Commission for approval of the Kibby project. We believe both these projects should have been approved and Maine missed an opportunity today,” said Voorhees.
“These decisions send a mixed message to wind developers looking to invest in Maine.”
Maine’s legislature has unequivocally acted to promote wind power development in Maine, because of the environmental and economic benefits. A large, diverse coalition of groups supported the Black Nubble project, from public health organizations to the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. NRCM is unaware of any energy project of any kind that has received as much support as did the Black Nubble project. But without clear targets the Commission is still struggling to apply the need for wind power to real projects which can actually deliver on the promise of wind power.
Maine has one major wind power project operating on Mars Hill in Aroostook County. The 33-turbine project can produce 42-megawatts (MW), sufficient electricity to meet the needs of up to 25,000 homes.
In November, LURC had voted in favor of a 57 MW wind farm, now under construction on Stetson Mountain in Washington County. Once operational, this wind farm will produce as much electricity as is used by 27,000 Maine homes.
The Kibby, Mars Hill and Stetson Mountain projects will generate significant clean energy, which will directly displace fossil fuels. They also both have impacts on the local environment, which need to be weighed against the benefits. Wind farms generate power with no air emissions, no mercury, and no global warming gasses.
“Whether you are concerned about the enormous threat of global warming, the ongoing problem of mercury in our fish and wildlife, or the development of a growing clean energy sector for our economy, these wind power projects make sense for Maine,” said Voorhees.
NRCM has been a leading advocate for wind power in Maine, and works aggressively to reduce our overall demand for electricity by promoting energy efficiency investments in homes and businesses.