New Vineyard vote may stall wind power opportunity

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FARMINGTON – Fred Smith hopes that the passages of a wind farm moratorium in New Vineyard last Saturday doesn’t hinder the process of building a possible wind farm on his and others property.

New Vineyard residents voted for a moratorium, which will allow the Planning Board to draft an ordinance guiding the permitprocess.

Smith, who owns property in New Vineyard, said he was approached by former Gov. Angus King about two years ago with the idea of putting in a wind farm on top of Caswell, Griffin and Norton mountains in New Vineyard and Industry. Two other property owners were also approached, he said.

Among the three of them, they own about 3,500 acres, he said; Smith owns about 2,000 of them.

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The property is close to a main transmission line and there may be a few camps on it but mostly it is wilderness.

He believes such a project would be a financial asset to the towns for equipment and transmission lines that would go in on the leased property.

Smith said he signed a contract with First Wind, an independent national wind energy company, to allow the company the opportunity to evaluate, assess and erect test towers. He has been receiving compensation for that contract.

One of the property owners has not signed a contract and the other person who did recently died, Smith said.

He has already told the company that if the project goes through, access won’t be gained from New Vineyard village.

He believes First Wind may reassess the situation after the New Vineyard vote and look at other options.

“I have every confidence the (New Vineyard) Planning Board will have open minds” as they develop an ordinance, Smith said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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