Special town meeting on wind moratorium Monday

CARTHAGE — Residents will have a chance Monday to decide whether to approve a six-month moratorium on the development of industrial wind farms.

The special town meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Community Building at the intersection with Route 142.

The town meeting was prompted by a citizens' petition with more than 150 signatures calling for a moratorium.

Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., wants to build 13 turbines along a ridge that includes Saddleback Mountain, and another four turbines if the town succeeds in getting clear title to about 320 acres along the same ridge.

Patriot Renewables Chief Executive Officer Todd Presson and project developer Andy Novey made a presentation on the project last week. About 70 people from Carthage and several nearby towns attended.

On Thursday, Mathew Eddy of Eaton Peabody Consulting Group presented some possibilities for a tax-increment-financing package that could affect the town if the project goes forward.

First Selectman Steve Brown said Friday that Michael Rogers of Maine Revenue Services had been scheduled to make a presentation as well, but was unable to attend. Brown said Rogers will provide MRS information at a later time.

The moratorium would allow selectmen to determine the most appropriate methods to regulate industrial wind turbine projects.

The proposed moratorium states that because the town has no local land use regulations, except for shoreland zoning, “there exists the potential for serious public harm and adverse financial impact.”

The developers must undergo a lengthy permitting process through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Brown said that because the town has no comprehensive plan or ordinances, the state DEP may take on the responsibility and liability for the planned project.

“If the moratorium passes, we'll go on from there,” he said.

If a credit enhancement-agreement is worked out with Patriot Renewables, Brown said the town could gain a number of financial benefits, as well as conservation easements for public recreation.

Those who have questioned or opposed such a plan have said that noise could have health implications. Others are concerned with the potential visual or wildlife impacts.

eadams@sunjournal.com

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Rob Pforzheimer's picture

Ask them this too -

When wind developers compare all the energy they claim they'll make to so many thousand cars being taken off the road.
Ask them if they will be some of those turning in their cars.

If anyone thinks it's worth a few crumbs from these lying thieves to industrial and forever divide your community you are either delusional or getting bribed.

Industrial scale turbines will soon be oil leaking, rusting hulks, with broken blades, that aren't worth fixing - monuments to stupidity, gullibility and greed that the town will have to pay to remove. Once these mountain ridges are industrialized they will forever be subject to the next developement fad.

Evidence of communities ruined by big wind are endless. There is also ample evidence of families abandoning unsalable properties.

THIS IS AN ENRON SCAM ON STIMULOUS, AND WE ARE PAYING FOR IT.
WAKE UP PEOPLE!
Use Less

Brad Blake's picture

Vote for the Moratorium!

There are many reasons why people live in hamlets like Carthage. Its usually for the appreciation of quiet country life, living away from industrial and commercial hubub. It includes enjoying wildlife and things you do in the country, like hunting, fishing, picking berries, being close at hand. Beautiful vista are important, too.
All of that will be lost when hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of Saddleback Mt. get blasted away to erect turbines, shattering the mountain, forever changing it's profile. Wildlife habitat gets fragmented, as hundreds of acres are permanently clearcut. What isn't gravelled over gets treated with herbicides and the silt and herbicide residues wash into the streams and ponds.
Towering over town will be huge industrial machines with the dull roar of a low flying jet overhead that never goes away as long as the blades turn. Worse, is the effects on humans and animals of low frequency infrasound that has negative effects on health. Just ask people in Mars Hill and Freedom. Wind turbines are notorious killers of birds and bats. Topping it all off will be a dozen or so aviation lights blinking 24/7 in place of the brilliance of the milky way against a black night sky.
Not only does this impact Carthage directly, but the sweeping vistas from Mt. Blue State Park and the Tumbledown Mt. Public Reserve will be marred by the scalping of Saddleback and the hideous cluster of 400 foot tall trubines.
Is this what we want for a peaceful, beautiful part of Maine? For a company whose sole purpose is to gather government subsidies and sell credits, rather than actually sell electricity? Industrial Wind sites in Maine produce only 25% of nameplate capacity and it is an unpredictable, unreliable, ineffective, and costly source of electricty. Carthage, save your town and do not get caught up in this scam!

Dan McKay's picture

the expense of wind

Let’s get real now. Wind turbines of the scale proposed for the destruction of the Western Maine mountaintops and environmental repercussions downhill and downwind do not last 20 years as everyone seems to take for granted. These machines have many parts to them : gears meshing with each other, blade tips whipping at 180 miles per hour, hydraulic systems straining against tremendous resistance to keep the machines facing the wind. Evidence is showing these machines wear out in 10 to 15 years, as part replacement and downtime for repairs becomes too expensive and stand to put the wind project in the red as costs exceed sales of electricity. I smell bailout.
If as a country, we are hell-bent to have these wind machines as a way off foreign energy dependence, be prepared to pay and pay dearly. Imagine how many wind turbines it will take to produce the energy requirements to adapt to electric vehicles and electrically heating our homes and businesses. There simply is not enough space and real money available to achieve this .
The money to keep this going has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is from the pockets of the taxpayers and electricity users. Money spent to sustain an unsustainable dream. This is no different than the dream scheme of giving every American the opportunity of buying a house whether they could afford it or not. That didn’t work out too well, except for a few, behind the scenes, wall street manipulators.
This is the next bubble to burst in our faces. Business models based on 20 years which expire in 10 to 15 years create bankruptcy . Will we be paying for their bailout with our government exclaiming they are too big and too important for our future to fail ?
The path to failure is already under way. The behind the scenes manipulation by greedy profiteers is occurring now. The government, as the main proponent for this scheme, prepares to protect it’s arrogance , never admitting to producing a failed policy. They will do this at all costs and we will pay the price.
Consider these facts :
1. Most of the billions of taxpayer money devoted to the creation of this scheme goes overseas to foreign turbine manufacturers.
2. Billions and billions are being spent to upgrade power lines to bring wind generated electricity from places far from the cities and industries which create the overwhelming demand . Billions to be paid by all electricity users.
3. Because of the unreliability of wind and the intermittent production of electricity from them, many more conventional generators are placed in stand-by mode. When the wind isn’t within the range of speed to produce, these stand-by generators are required to start. An emergency situation with emergency pricing taking effect.
4. Spain, one of the biggest developers of this “ green energy “ has a hurting economy and can no longer subsidized the wind projects. An example of the disastrous results produced by this scheme.
5. All of wind developers will tell you, they would never venture into these projects if it wasn’t for the taxpayer handouts they receive. Handouts which are subject to the whim of the politicians. Government is notorious for it’s “ subject to change “ attitude.
The many details and nuances involved in this scheme are overwhelming for us, the average American citizen, to understand. Mostly, we are left in the dark as politicians bombard us with their double speak and the profiteers devise their strategy beyond our sight. This is no “ gift horse “ we are presenting to our future generations.

Karen  Pease's picture

Room to Breathe

Hi Candiceanne. I hear your pique, and I understand it. However, I believe if you think about what the Carthage vote is for, you'll give the townsfolk who are pushing for a moratorium some understanding. A moratorium is not a NO vote. It is simply a means of protecting the town and its people. Small towns often don't have planning boards, and their comprehensive plans might not be all that comprehensive. When the state mandated those 20 years ago, industrial wind developments didn't exist in Maine. So, now we are playing catch-up. There are many, many facets to IW, and most Mainers do not know the full scope of their impact, nor are they educated on the 'greeness' or the economics of these developments. It is simply a case of being proactive to institute a moratorium, so that all residents (and property tax payers in general) can have some input. Home rule is a GOOD thing, and the more people who stand up to make their voices heard, the more we participate in this free society which we are so proud to be a part of. Breathing room... it's a good thing! For more factual information on IW, please visit www.highlandmts.org. From there, you can find many helpful links. Respectfully submitted, Karen Pease, Lexington Twp. http://karenbesseypease.blogspot.com/

Tom Olds's picture

Vote for a moratorium.

The residents of Carthage are propably not aware that the other towns in their school district (I assume they're in a district/union) could get together and vote to "not honor" Carthage's TIF with the wind company. As you are probably aware, a TIF cheats these other towns out of a share of the taxes Carthage would have paid the school district had the project not been TIF’d.

In Jackson, where I live, there was a movement in the other towns in our district (SAD 3) to do just that if we put in turbines and TIF'd the project. Even our selectmen, who were very pro wind, didn't want a TIF for that very reason. In the end, Jackson voted for a “thirteen times turbine height setback” (with mitigation waivers) and has seen no further action by CES (the developers of Freedom’s three turbine project) and who are somehow associated with Patriot Renewables.

If that happened to Carthage, they would be liable for the several hundred thousand dollars their town should have paid the school district each year. Do you suppose the wind company would let them out of their TIF contract? I doubt it. If Carthage couldn’t get out of the TIF, their millrate would skyrocket and stay there for the length of the TIF, normally twenty-two years or more.

TIF's are figured by multiplying the town's present mill rate by the total value of the project. The resulting figure is near what the wind company would have to pay under "regular" taxation. Of course, under “regular” taxation most of that money would be gobbled up by the county and the school system, but a little is left for tax relief in the town, but not much. Mike Rogers would probably be able to tell Carthage how much tax relief twelve turbines would mean to the tax payers in Carthage if they didn’t TIF the project.

If Carthage decides to go for the TIF, then the negotiations begin with the wind company's lawyers. Eaton Peabody has done all of First Wind’s TIF’s and are very experienced. Most are negotiated so that the town gets 40% of the TIF money and the wind company keeps 60%. Lincoln and Burlington managed to negotiate a 50-50 split. Vinalhaven got 10% and the “for profit” part of Fox Islands Winds kept 90%. All of the wind projects so far in Maine have been TIF'd, except for Freedom's.

TIF's save the wind companies millions in tax dollars over the life of the project. I don’t know what the millrate is in Carthage, but if it was .0200 and project was worth $43,000,000, and the wind company got to put 60% of that figure back in their pocket, then the wind company would save $8,000,000+ in the twenty-two year life span of a traditional TIF. Of course the turbines are depreciated as personal property 2% per year, so the town’s share decreases a little every year. It’s no wonder wind companies love TIF’s!

Carthage’s share would have to be spent on “economic development” projects within the TIF district. They couldn’t spend it on a new community center, new town hall, swimming pool, or ball field. Most towns just reconstruct a few miles of road (within the TIF district, of course) at $250,000 per mile and leave it at that. If they can prove to the state that the addition of turbines have caused the need for a new dump truck, fire engine, etc., they might be able to get that purchase approved. A small portion of the TIF proceeds may be used for community wide projects and most towns use this money for granting some scholarships. Of course they always have to set aside a goodly sum to administer and pay the legal fees associated with the TIF. There is a lot more to TIF's than meets the eye.

Towns seem to jump on the TIF's every time, even though a TIF guarantees absolutely no reduction in their taxes. If I lived in Carthage, I’d be voting for a moratorium so people had a chance to slow things down and look at everything very, very carefully. And if I lived in one of the other towns in the school district, I’d be watching Carthage very, very carefully too.

Lisa Lindsay's picture

Vote for a Moratorium

If the folks at Patriot Renewables can't give you the answers to the questions you've asked repeatedly within the last year, perhaps they will take you more seriously once you've voted for a moratorium. If this is such a wonderful, beneficial project with sound financial backing (that is undisclosed), then six months won't be a problem.

Your neighbors in Wilton just passed a wind ordinance covering both small and industrial sized projects. Towns like Dixfield, Weld, Rumford, Phillips, and Buckfield are working on theirs. Many other towns have ordinances in place. Why not Carthage?

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...