Details Announced for Protecting Redington Mountain
Wind power advocates turned out in force today at a news conference in Portland to lend their support for a scaled-back version of the Redington Wind Power Project. Unlike the original plan, the revised project would be built only on Black Nubble Mountain, and not also on the more ecologically-sensitive Redington Pond Range. The 54 megawatt (MW) wind project would generate as much electricity as is used by 21,500 Maine homes annually. Black Nubble is located near Sugarloaf Ski Area.
The news conference featured one of the largest demonstrations of support for a wind power project ever to occur in Maine, with more than 20 organizations endorsing the Black Nubble project and a broad and diverse range of speakers describing their reasons for supporting the project.
Maine Mountain Power LLC (MMP) this week formally submitted its amended application for the Black Nubble Wind Farm to Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission. The amendment outlines the environmental benefits of the $110 million 18-turbine renewable energy project, and describes how Redington Pond Range would be protected if a permit is provided for a wind farm on Black Nubble.
“The Black Nubble proposal will provide clean energy, reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, and protect Redington Mountain from wind development,” said NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. “The broad show of support here today demonstrates that the Black Nubble project strikes the right balance – a balance that reflects the broad interests of Maine people in increasing renewable energy and conserving special places.”
A copy of the restriction agreement for Redington Pond Range was released at the news conference. The document was negotiated and signed by representatives of NRCM, MMP, and Redington Mountain Windpower, LLC. (RMW). RMW owns 517 acres on Redington and 487 acres on Black Nubble, and has a lease agreement with Maine Mountain Power for use of the site for wind power generation.
If the Black Nubble Wind Farm is approved and constructed, then the restrictive covenant will prohibit the development of wind power on Redington Pond Range. Redington is the last undeveloped and unprotected 4,000-foot peak in Maine and has been identified as a high priority for protection. Redington lies within one of Maine’s last remaining large, unfragmented tracts of high-elevation forestlands, which provide significant environmental and wildlife habitat values.
For more than a year, NRCM has urged proponents and opponents of the original, hotly debated Redington Wind Power Project to find common ground with the “Black Nubble-only” configuration, placing Redington into protection. NRCM believes that the restrictive covenant, which would be recorded with the deed in Franklin County, offers the best possible strategy for achieving protection of Redington.
On January 24, the original two-mountain Redington Wind Farm proposal received a preliminary denial vote from LURC. On June 6, LURC voted to grant MMP’s request to submit an amended project proposal involving turbines for Black Nubble only. Hearings for the Black Nubble project have been set for September 19-21 at the base lodge of Sugarloaf ski area.
A 54 MW Black Nubble project would be a large wind farm by New England standards. The 42 MW Mars Hill project currently is the region’s largest wind farm. According to NRCM’s analysis of existing renewable energy plants in Maine, a Black Nubble Wind Farm would generate more electricity annually than all but five of Maine’s 102 hydropower facilities and most of Maine’s biomass plants.
Organizations that have endorsed the Black Nubble Wind Farm include: American Lung Association of Maine, Chewonki Foundation, Community Energy Partners, Conservation Law Foundation, Democracy Maine, Ed Holt & Associates, Energetic Management Associates, Environment Maine, Franklin County Development Corporation, Green Campus Consortium of Maine, Independent Energy Producers of Maine, Maine Center for Economic Policy, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Electric Consumers Coalition, Maine Energy Investment Corporation, Maine Global Climate Change, Inc., Maine Interfaith Power and Light, Maine Public Advocate, Maine Public Health Association, Maine Chamber of Commerce, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Physicians for Social Responsibility/ Maine, University of Southern Maine Sustainability Office.
Read more about the Black Nubble project, view maps, read testimony and see photo simulations of area.