Wind company makes pitch to Peru residents

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PERU — Residents on Wednesday night had their first informal meeting with a Texas-based wind power developer that is considering a project on Black Mountain.

EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, was granted a permit in October to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line.

Dan Fitzgerald, project manager, said his company has not built a development in Maine yet. The company has constructed some in the Northeast, including upstate New York, project developer Katie Chapman said.

She described the process of building a wind project from start to finish and showed how long most of them take. She showed a map of Peru with three areas shaded for possible wind farm development.

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Chapman showed the Wind Ordinance Committee, which is drafting laws to regulate such projects, how each area would be affected by certain setbacks, including road, parcel and town-line setbacks.

“A 4,000-foot setback would be a killer to the project,” Fitzgerald said.

Committee member Warren MacFawn asked Fitzgerald how many turbines the company was looking at building in Peru.

Fitzgerald and Chapman said the company is still in the very early stages of research and many variables would factor into the decision. However, they said there is a possibility of 25 to 35. 

“We are in the very early stages and nothing is set in stone,” Fitzgerald said.

Dr. Philip Bretz who resides on Lovejoy Hill was upset over the effect a wind turbine would have on the health of his family and the view from his property.

“We have pristine views, just beautiful views, and I don’t want to see them destroyed,” he said.

Benefits to the town were also discussed and Fitzgerald said he has seen other projects use tax increment financing. He also added that the company would work with the town and state to improve roadways to support the construction needs of the project.

Fitzgerald said he was pleased to see the town taking a proactive approach to creating a wind ordinance by having both sides represented and being informed on the facts.

Alice McKay of Carthage encouraged the committee to attend a showing of the documentary “Windfall.” The film is scheduled to be shown March 4 at Dirigo High School in Dixfield by Friends of Maine Mountains.

Committee members agreed to accelerate the process of writing an ordinance so it could be on the ballot in June. The next meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Town Office, Chairman Bill Hine said.

ecox@sunjournal.com

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