Record Hill looking for federal guarantee on its loan

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ROXBURY — The developers of the Record Hill LLC wind project are looking to take advantage of a federal loan guarantee program that would make funding easier.

Former Gov. Angus King, one of the two principals in the project, said Monday afternoon that the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program was expanded to renewable energy projects, such wind and solar, when the nation’s banking difficulties began several years ago.

Although he declined to say the amount he and Rob Gardiner, the other principal in the project, are asking to be federally guaranteed, he did say that the company must have a “significant amount of equity and cash.”

The project has been announced as valued at $120 million, and would produce about 130 million kilowatts per year.

The 22-turbine project planned for the ridgeline that connects Partridge Peak, Record Hill and Flathead Mountain, was approved by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in August 2009. Opponents of the project, Concerned Citizens of Roxbury, then appealed to the Board of Environmental Protection, which upheld the DEP approval.

Now, however, the Concerned Citizens of Roxbury and other appellants have taken the case to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. King said he is hopeful that a decision will be made within a month.

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The request for a federal loan guarantee requires an environmental assessment, as well as comments on the assessment by interested citizens,  Joseph Marhamati of the Department of Energy said.

He said the department is looking for any concerns or comments on the project.

The draft environmental assessment document is available on the Loan Programs Office, Environmental Compliance website at http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/NEPA_EA.html or by calling Joe Marhamati at 202-586-8198. Comments may be submitted to Marhamati via e-mail at Jospeh.Marhamati@hq.doe.gov, or to him at U.S. Department of energy, 1000 Independence Ave. SW (LP-10), Washingtom, D.C. 20585.

All comments must be made by March 18.

The analysis of the environmental assessment and comments generally takes several months to complete, Marhamati said.

Preparatory work had begun in August 2009 and continued until winter. It has not restarted because of the court case and request for the federal loan guarantee.

If all goes as King expects, work would resume later this year.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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