DEPs windmill hearing draws crowd

CANTON — Chairs replaced fire engines as the Canton Fire Station hosted the Department of Environmental Protection’s third hearing on the Canton Mountain Wind Project in Canton and Dixfield.

Commissioner Patricia Aho conducted the hearing, reading names from a list of people who signed up to speak. Besides the 19 or so people who signed up, several more of the 60 present spoke during the two-hour hearing.

Project Manager Erle Townsend, Division Director Mark Pergeron and Regional Director Dawn Hallowell completed the DEP Panel.

Comments to the panel centered around concern for fires from the turbines, the impact on wildlife and aesthetics as well as the decommissioning of the wind farm after the wind project was gone.

Lisa Cummings read a statement from the Canton Board of Selectmen saying that the other two hearings had satisfied the board that they were fully informed about the project.

Dan McKay was concerned about the fire risk and the need for more fire protection. He was also wanted Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to do more studies on the impact the turbines have a wildlife. He cited a study that questioned whether wind power actually reduced greenhouse gases.

Mike Bond, former CEO of an international energy company, questioned how much energy would be generated. He said that the projected three megawatts would be closer to 1.68 megawatts. “Is this enough to destroy a mountain?” he asked the panel.

Canton fire Chief Shane Gallant said the Fire Department was working on a plan with Patriot Renewables LLC and the road to the turbines would give them better access.

Judy Drury of Canton spoke to the draft’s subjectivity. She said, “ I read, ‘we think that won’t happen’ or ‘we hope that won’t happen’ fifteen or more times. Also, I read ‘approximately‘ nineteen times and, to me, that was not reassuring language.

"These structures are not benign.” she said, encouraging people to read an article from Forbes Magazine, "Germany's Green Energy Disaster: A Cautionary Tale For World Leaders.”

She suggested that the environmental tests concerning impact on wildlife should be redone.

Larry Williamson asked for more testing, particularly on the effect of wind direction on sound. He suggested that the DEP was more concerned about the government's interests than the public's.

Others attendees wanted to know how many jobs actually would be created and where the energy was going. Another attendee suggested since Maine already exports lobsters and lumber, exporting power should not be an issue.

Addressing the unsightly windmills, Sue Gammon said, people clear-cut their property and that is unsightly. “This is private land. People should be able to do what they want on their land.”

Rebecca Skibitsky of Dixfield said she used to live in Canton and had heard it once was a bustling town. “We need to be ready for the new to come in.”

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 's picture

Judy Drury is Right

Judy Drury is right. This is all speculative, with the wind company skewing everything to be positive for them. The DEP never asks the tough questions and never draws the line in saying "this project is denied because what the wind company promises cannot be proven."

What is proven is that wind power is a terribly unpredictable, unreliable, non-dispatachable, and expensive source of electricity. There is a track record of data provided by the wind industry in Maine to FERC. In 2012, the capacity factor for Maine's major wind projects was 24.27%.

There is no reason whatsoever to think that Canton Mt. will produce any better and likely will do worse. Patriot Renewables operates the Spruce Mt. wind project in Woodstock and they won't divulge its output and due to the size is not required by FERC to file. One would think if the performance was as good as the marvelous projections in the application, Patriot Renewables would want to brag.

 's picture

clear cut

isn't that against the law?

Hart Daley's picture

Money Talks

All one needs to do is look back a couple years to see that Ms. Skibitsky's views are not surprising since Patriot Renwables LLC (The Wind Company for Canton Wind) arbitrarily donated $10,000 dollars to her business (11 Circles), coincidentally while her father, who was the previous Town Manager in Dixfield, was attempting to facilitate the introduction of a wind project in our town. Wind projects will not "lure" any businesses into our towns because with them come an increase in electric rates which is a turnoff to big business.

Robert McQueeney's picture

I live near some wind turbines

I just love seeing them turning and making power without burning fossil fuel. I, personally, do not see them as unsightly. But they can be hard on the ears. There is a considerable noise vortex coming out of the backside of them when the wind is blowing good. Not all the time, but at times, when the wind is blowing good, it's all relative, but it can be bad.

I am fortunate to live on the primarily leeward side, so I don't have it too bad. But I feel for the folks on the other side. This is, I suspect, the main issue with those living nearby. If you are going to allow these in your community, get them set back a mile or three from residences.


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