Canton wind moratorium proposal stirs comments

CANTON — The Planning Board took comments Thursday night on a proposed wind power development moratorium that's set for a vote Saturday.

Mary Standard photo

Friends of Maine's Mountains member Alice McKay Barrett of  Carthage makes a point during a hearing on a proposed wind power moratorium ordinance Thursday night at Canton.

The ordinance would prohibit development of such projects for six months, giving the town time to write regulations for wind power developments. The vote is set for 9 a.m. at the old municipal building.

Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., proposes to build eight turbines on Canton Mountain to produce 22 megawatts of electricity. The plan, long-term, calls for linking the project to a substation off Ludden Lane that is being built for the 12-turbine Saddleback Ridge Wind Project in Carthage.

“You people in Canton won’t suffer from your wind farm. It will be the people in East Dixfield and North Jay who are the closest to the project,"  Norman Mitchell of East Dixfield told the crowd of approximately 40 people from Canton and surrounding town.

Earlier at the hearing, he read from an article on the importance of having an ordinance. It basically said Canton needed a properly written ordinance to protect the municipality.

Kathy Hutchins, who moderated the meeting, said the Planning Board was paying attention to people’s concerns and had accepted the petition for a moratorium ordinance. She said the Planning Board had let its concerns be known to the wind company about noise and decommissioning.

"We don’t think we need an ordinance," she said.

Judy Drury of Canton said people needed to inform themselves about wind power and suggested they get online and read all they could so they could make a smart decision Saturday.

Friends of Maine's Mountains member Alice McKay Barrett of Carthage said Patriot Renewables was not answering people’s concerns about sound and other issues. She said she is 2,000 feet from where the turbines would be installed.

Tom Carroll, outreach coordinator for Patriots Renewables, countered that she was getting false information.

“We do respond to people’s concerns,” he said.

One man said he thought wind projects were driven by money, because the towns getting wind turbines are small and impoverished.

Rob Walker of Canton said it was because those small towns were along the Androscoggin River where the wind currents are.

Carroll said there were two things that wind companies considered when choosing a site. Layout was first and transmission availability was second.

The meteorological tower on Canton Mountain has been operating for more than a year, he said, and indicates there is plenty of wind. He said the company has filed a permit with Maine Department of Environmental Protection and are waiting for approval.

Selectman Donald Hutchins suggested people vote Saturday, not based on how their taxes might be affected, but the other aspects of wind power generation such as sound, flicker and sight.

Hutchins said the town might get a considerable sum of tax revenue from the project the first year, but then the town's valuation would go up and it would get less for schools.

It was announced that the nuisance hearing scheduled for Friday night has been rescheduled to Oct. 12.

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Comments

 's picture

America places our electrical

America places our electrical network in peril with the introduction of unreliable wind energy. The fluctuations of energy caused by wind puts strain on the physical elements of the grid and also causes grid operators to make decisions contrary to the best interests of the ratepayer, who would like reliable power at the lowest cost.
As towns drool over the small, fleeting deposit of revenue from property assessment of wind turbines, think of what this is doing to the country as we try to regain prosperity. Wind power takes from the taxpayer and the ratepayer to deliver a product not needed, much more expensive and a major cause to keeping America from reclaiming our lead as the brightest and most productive nation on earth.
Don't forsake your faith in the country's engineers and scientists to come up with solutions to energy independence by inviting such a problematic venture as wind produced energy. Remember, our energy portfolio includes transportation, heating and electricity. Wind will never satisfy even a small portion of these energy requirements and even that small, insignificant portion that wind adds is economically deterring America's return to prosperity .
Let's get real and put our country back to work to produce a future where we can pay our bills.

 's picture

Liar, Liar, Part 2

Mr Carroll: "The meteorological tower on Canton Mountain has been operating for more than a year, he said, and indicates there is plenty of wind." This is utter bullshit! An outright LIE! This is the line that EVERY wind developer uses. Then, they refuse to divulge the data to the public and are not required to prove it to DEP in their application. They claim, and get away with, "proprietary information". You know what? If you take our tax dollars for the subsidy you are so dependent upon, WE, the TAXPAYERS, own that data. I would love to see a court case based on that premise.

I will share with you the case with First Wind's "Rollins" project in Lincoln Lakes. I personally challenged First Wind that they were proposing a project in an area that the NREL maps clearly showed was "poor" to "marginal" wind potential. Oh, but First Wind said their data showed that the site has "plenty of wind" a "good wind resource"! What was the data that supports that contention, I asked. "proprietary information" replied First Wind.

The project got built, including an outright gift of taxpayer money of $53 million in ARRA Section 1603 funds, and here are the results: In 1st quarter 2012, the windiest months, 30.2% capacity factor (actual output vs design capacity), dropping to 22.3% in second quarter. Third quarter, the summer months have not been posted on the FERC website yet, but with summer comes less wind and I expect the % capacity factor to drop into the teens, offsetting the high winter output.

My prediction at the meetings: the Rollins Project will be lucky to have 25% capacity factor. I'm right. First Wind were liars. They could not give the truth from their met tower measurements because it didn't support the project being feasible. That's because it is not about producing electricity. It is all about finding an easy place to put up monstrous subsidy generating machines!

 's picture

Liar, as usual!

Tom Carroll of Patriot Renewables: “We do respond to people’s concerns,” he said. The track record of the wind industry, especially Patriot Renewables, First Wind, and Angus King is they are a bunch of liars and thieves. They do not give a damn about the people in Maine and even less for our beauty and natural resources. They just look at our ridges and visualize huge 50 story tall noisy machines that crank money out of the taxpayers and ratepayers with every spin of a blade---that is, when the damnable things actually produce electricity, which is at best 25% of the time.

The wind industry will say anything and promise a pittance to buy off the local people to get their way. Notice that Carroll says "two things that wind companies considered when choosing a site. Layout was first and transmission availability was second." Well, Mr. Carroll, what about the people in the community or the natural resource of the mountain you are going to blast to smithereens?

It is time for local people to stand up for their own communities and say every person living there deserves peace and quiet and protection from health impacts of wind turbines and loss of property value. Kick the subsidy thieves out of town!

Norman Mitchell's picture

what I read at Canton meeting

I would like to read to you so you can understand you need local control
Wind Energy, like other renewable energies, may play a part in this country’s approach to addressing electricity needs. However, Wind Energy Facilities, , are industrial scale developments that will have industrial scale impacts on the community in which they are located. As Wind Energy become more prevalent, more information has become available about the real-world impacts on communities and residents. Municipalities that will be the site of future Wind Energy Facilities can learn from the experiences of other municipalities, and can proactively address some of the potential problems that have arisen elsewhere. A municipality can take a number of steps to ensure that Wind Energy Facilities are sited appropriately, built to adequate safety and performance standards, do not adversely impact the health safety and welfare of its residents, and that the developer—not the municipality and its residents—bears the risk of a Wind Energy Facility’s actual impact being more severe than predicted. As more and more wind projects are proposed and completed around Maine and throughout the country, municipalities should look to the experience of others to determine what has worked and what has created problems. By addressing the many areas that have been problematic for unprepared municipalities in the past, a municipality can proactively address many of those issues. A comprehensive ordinance gives the municipality the tools to ensure that it has all the information and resources necessary to conduct a comprehensive review of the proposed project. Most Maine municipalities to address the issue have found that the State’s site planning requirements and the State’s model municipal ordinance do not provide adequate protection to insulate municipalities from the business risk taken on by developers. Municipalities should look to the set of issues addressed by those who have gone before them. Several existing ordinances provide guidance on ways that municipalities can ensure that it is the developer who takes the risk that the development will perform based on the developer’s projections and predictions, and that it is not the municipality or its citizens that shoulder the burden of an unsuccessful generating facility.

Most municipalities that have chosen to adopt their own municipal ordinances have found many aspects of the state review deficient for the protection of municipal concerns, Also, a municipality that chooses to have its permitting authority defer to a State finding on issues such as a proposed facility's scenic impact should recognize that the State review process does not take into account areas of local significance. The municipality should therefore be careful to draft its ordinance in a way that allows its reviewing authority to take into account any areas of local significance
Noise is a very important and technically complicated issue. The topography of Maine’s ridges and the presence of large amounts of acoustically reflective granite ledge can cause noise impacts to extend farther than they would under different geologic and topographic conditions. Furthermore, wind energy facilities are often located in quite rural areas, and the noise standards must be formulated to address that fact rather than be based on acceptable noise levels in crowded urban areas The DEP approach to noise regulation is not wind-specific and as a result does not take into account (or even regulate) the low-frequency noise. Municipalities must therefore ensure that their noise regulation is comprehensive and effective It is important that a municipality have a mechanism to ensure that if the actual noise, shadow flicker or blade glint issues are different than the pre-construction modeling or representations to the municipality, it is the developer, not the municipality and its residents who shoulder the cost of mitigation.
One way that a municipality can help ensure that it is the developer, not the municipality and its residents, that bears the risk of impacts being more severe then predicted is to establish some mandatory post-construction monitoring. Some provide for mandatory post construction surveys to assess impacts on wildlife such as bird-kills. An ordinance should be drafted to clearly indicate what performance standards must continue to be met post-construction (as opposed to simply being design standards). Also, an ordinance should be clear as to whether the permit holder conducts the monitoring and reports to the municipality, or whether the municipality conducts the monitoring at the expense of the permit holder.
A wind ordinance should clearly outline what types of relationships constitute a conflict-of-interest that would require the recusal of an individual serving on the review committee. A municipality might also consider conflict-of-interest requirements for the municipally-contracted industry experts.
If a project does not perform as predicted, a typical investor in a wind energy facility may walk away or abandon a project. A municipality needs to ensure that if that happens, there will be funds available to decommission and remove the turbines, as well as restore the landscape. Most ordinances do this by requiring a decommissioning fund to be established. . Municipalities have been led to believe that the scrap value of a decommissioned Wind Energy Facility will be sufficient to cover much of its cost, however, such a scenario is speculative.
There also may be incentives for a developer to later seek more favorable tax treatment. In order to protect itself a municipality should incorporate contractual requirements which require the owner of the turbines to agree not to contest, challenge or endeavor to seek more favorable property tax treatment during the project's projected operational period (generally around 20 years) even if change in law permits it or project performance deteriorates.
Also Dr Tom Ward RSU 10 superintendent of schools also made it quite plain that the Dixfield portion of RSU increased by 3% due to an increase in Dixfields valuation of 23 million in 2010 due to loss of state funding , now consider what a 40 million dollar increase in town valuation will do to the tax burden in the town

 's picture

Industrial wind sprawl is an

Industrial wind sprawl is an ecological and economical disaster. The energy is diffuse, unpredictable, enormously expensive and the technology is incapable of providing "green" power to over seven billion energy hungry humans. We shouldn't be destroying the last of our great spaces with this industry. The jobs mantra has been worked to death; we can't afford to subsidize jobs that cost 1.3 million dollars a year on average to the tax payers. I've lived off grid for over twenty five years and I don't think all that many people would want to cut back their power consumption and simplify their lives in order to save this planet. The industrial turbines have become religious icons to a false green movement that wants to "feel good" about the direction we're heading in. But we need real science based energy solutions, not politically maniupulated special interest agendas. This is a beautiful planet and we need to protect it. The biggest crime of industrial wind is that it siphons energy and money and TIME away from finding real energy solutions. Small thorium reactors will be the new green energy. Let the wind industry go the way of the dinosaurs.

 's picture

questions?

what is a "receptor"?

Tom Carroll gave no answer.

How tall are the 3 MW turbines going to be?

Tom Carroll gave no answer.

Jo Levesque's picture

Alice, A receptor is a term

Alice, A receptor is a term that is used for one purpose. That one purpose IS to try and remove the human factor from the equation..."receptors" are those Maine residents who will be the recipients of impacts...clever, eh? the wind developers always try to de-humanize the process..."receptors", in reality, are the residents of communities that live, and or work, a mile or more of wind projects.

When wind developers use code words...you must understand there is mischief afoot..."receptors"...this is NOT a science fiction movie...this is real life and is happening all over New England...where populations are too dense (even in Maine if residents live 2,000 feet from win d proposals).

 's picture

Humans, not receptors

Talk to the real humans in Vinalhaven, Freedom, Mars Hill, Lincoln, Lee in Maine and the thousands across the globe who are "receptors"! It is criminal what the regulatory agencies allow, or in the state of Maine encourage and promote, the wind industry to do to rural people who seek a place of peace, quietude, and harmony with natural surroundings. A wind power project is a sprawling, ugly, noisy, destructive industrial site that has no place in Maine.

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