Wind farm developer hosting open house

DIXFIELD — Residents will have a chance to learn about a proposed wind turbine project for the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline at an open house at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ludden Memorial Library.

The session will be hosted by developers Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass. A dozen or more “stations” will be set up by Patriot's scientific and permitting team.

A variety of maps showing the planned placement of turbines, transmission lines and substation as it relates to sound, wildlife and other factors will be on display with specialists available to answer questions.

A representative will also be available to discuss the environmental permitting process. A consultant from Eaton Peabody, the firm hired by the town with Patriot funding, will discuss the financial and tax implications of siting a wind turbine project in town.

The wind energy firm has planned construction of 13 industrial wind turbines on privately owned, leased land. The firm has several other wind projects under development in Carthage, Canton and Woodstock.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

On Patriot Renewables' Payroll

Wind developers routinely demonstrate their largesse by offering to towns and counties a neutral and unbiased consultant to look at their finances for them. Wind developers offer to pay for that objective, independent counsel. And then... they recommend a firm like Eaton Peabody.

Of course they do.

If a representative from Eaton Peabody states that they are a neutral facilitator which doesn't represent industrial wind companies, please be very suspicious. They need to remember who their clients have been... and who they ARE. They need to think about what documents they might have signed and sworn to. What documents might be 'on record'.

I agree that wind developers SHOULD pay for consultants and attorneys if they are coming into a town and causing expense as those communities deal with proposals for wind energy plants. But I urge all towns to seek their own independent counsel... an attorney or consultant who has not been tainted by industrial wind. If Patriot Renewables, First Wind, Highland Wind LLC and others are on the up and up-- then they won't mind if a town hires a firm or individual who has no ties-- NONE-- to industrial wind.

Don't put your faith in Eaton Peabody. Not in this instance. In some capacity, they've already represented wind developers in Maine. Don't take guidance or advice from wind developers, or from me. I urge all townspeople to seek out truly independent advice. No matter which way you lean on the topic of industrial wind, your townspeople deserve unbiased, expert counsel.

 's picture

Just more propaganda

Just more "wonderful tales" from the developer. It could be worse, you could have First Wind LLC doing the development. Hopefully Patriot Renewables has at least a little bit of ethics, honesty, and scrupples - something totally lacking in First Wind's front men. But still, it's a failed technology that's starting to fail everyone's "sniff' test. The cost to benefit ratio is so unfavorable that institutional investors have lost all interest. Two day's ago First Wind LLC projected it's IPO's value of $24-26. per share. Yesterday, they reduced the projection to $18-20. and then this morning they pulled it completely - only to come back at 11:00 a.m. at $11.51 per share. That's 47% off what they projected just two days ago. People are getting wise to these heavily federally subsidized wind power boondoggles.

Tom Olds's picture

Turbines and taxes.

Let’s say Patriot Renewables gets to put up 13 turbines in Dixfield (about a $39,000,000. investment). If they actually intended to pay the current tax rate of 16.75 mills on their investment, they would pay the town about $653,250,000. per year in taxes. Sounds pretty good, right? Wouldn’t people’s tax bills go down in Dixfield? The answer is yes, but only by a very tiny amount.

What people forget is that a town’s school and county appropriation is driven by the town’s total value. Dixfield’s value right now is about $147,250,000 and if you drive that up by $39,000,000., then your county tax and school tax increases eat up any tax relief. Of course the other towns in the school district don’t mind a bit, because any increase in Dixfield’s share of the school and county budgets means a small decrease in their county and school taxes.

Even in small towns where the turbine project doubles the town’s value, the tax relief was only about $120. per $150,000. of valuation. The figures I just quoted were done by the State of Maine’s Municipal Revenue Division. Let’s face it, if you think the turbine project will reduce your taxes in Dixfield, you’ve got another think coming!

But Patriot Renewables has absolutely no intention of paying their fair share. If they get their way, they are going to ask for a TIF. So instead of paying the town $653,250. per year, they are only going to pay the town about $195,975 per year (30%) and put the other $457,275 (70%) back in their pocket. Of course you might get a little more by driving a hard bargain with Patriot Renewable’s legal team (Eaton Peabody), but don’t count on it. And to add insult to injury, Patriot Renewables gets to depreciate the turbines by 2-3% per year by claiming them as personal property. Sweet deal for Patriot Renewables, huh! (Not so hot for Dixfield.)

That $195,975 the town receives cannot be used for tax relief, either. It can only be used for “economic development” within the TIF district. No swimming pools and no ball parks for the kids either. Most towns reconstruct a few miles of roads at $250,000 per mile (again the roads have to be within the TIF district), hire an economic development director, and spend a fair amount ($97,000 in Burlington’s case) on yearly lawyer fees to administer the TIF. Lincoln is going to buy a building, tear it down and put up a parking lot…cost, $1,000,000. The state has to approve everything, too.

Some towns use a portion of the TIF funds to promote tourism. That’s kind of a joke isn’t it? They just covered their hills with turbines, so how are they going to promote tourism?

The TIF would be worth it if the project created enough good paying jobs, but the average is one good paying permanent job for every 6 to10 turbines. And as Patriot Renewables gets more projects across Maine, I see them centralizing repair work and keeping a skeleton crew in places like Dixfield. Vote yes on the ordinance...it's the right thing to do.

 's picture

Eaton Peabody

Let us not forget that Eaton Peabody is the law firm that wrote the TIF proposals for Stetson, Lincoln, Lee, Winn, Burlington, Oakfield and who knows how many other First Wind projects. Never forget they work for the Wind Companies (the people paying their salaries), not for the townspeople.

I guarantee Patriot Renewables will be pushing hard for a TIF. With a TIF, Patriot Renewables will be giving the town about 30-40% of the taxes they should have paid, and putting the rest, about 60-70% back in their pockets. They are allowed to depreciate the turbines (as personal property) between 2-3% per year too. Another loss for the town! No tax relief for the citizens either way!

Tom Olds's picture

Just say no!

You are right. We just need to say no to TIFs. What I can't understand is why more towns don't say no. The only wind project in the state where the people said no was in Freedom and that was a project by Patriot Renewables with three turbines.

So if there is next to zero tax relief under regular taxation, and absolutely no tax relief with a TIF, and they create so few jobs and cause so many problems with their noise and loss of property values near them, why would any town let them in? Other than benefit some lease holders on top of the hills, I can't for the life of me explain it.

Dan McKay's picture

Natural gas prices continue

Natural gas prices continue to decline. Electrical demand is down. The gas to electric plant in Rumford remains idle most of the time. The existing wind farms in Maine provide more than is required to meet the State's mandated " Renewable Portfolio " New wind projects are showing up as losses to investors. First Wind's profit/loss disclosure reveals a failing company. If you don't need it and it will increase the cost of electricity, why build it ? People in Dixfield and Rumford have an opportunity on November 2 to stop this nonsense or at least delay it until wind can prove itself to be a needed and reliable source of electricity. Vote IN FAVOR of Rumford's wind ordinance with a YES. Vote IN FAVOR of zoning Colonel Holman and Sugarloaf Mountains in Dixfield with a YES.

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