AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s wilderness zoning board has given final approval to a 57-megawatt wind farm in northern Washington county that would be the largest such project in New England.

The Land Use Regulation Commission voted 5-0 Wednesday, with two members absent, in favor of the plan by Evergreen Wind Power to install 38 turbines on Stetson Mountain, a ridge line that stretches between Danforth and Springfield.

The vote came two months after LURC approved a zoning change for the $100 million project.

“We are pleased that the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission has recognized the importance of developing alternative energy sources such as the Stetson Wind Project, which is poised to become the region’s biggest source of wind energy,” said Paul Gaynor, president and CEO of UPC Wind Management of Newton, Mass., parent of Evergreen Wind Power.

“In addition, the project will also provide numerous economic benefits to the region including revenue and employment opportunities as we move forward with construction activities in the coming months,” Gaynor said.

Evergreen Wind Power has already built a 42-megawatt, 28-turbine wind farm in Mars Hill, currently the largest operation of its kind in the region.

The company has said the Stetson Mountain wind farm, which will generate enough electricity to power 27,000 homes, could be operational by the end of the year.

The wind turbine towers will be 262 feet tall, with blade diameters of 253 feet, according to the company’s Web site.

The turbine at maximum height will be 389 feet tall.

During the LURC review process, the company noted that the ridge has excellent wind conditions and that old logging roads can be used during construction, minimizing environmental impacts. In addition, there are no homes within 2,500 feet of the project site and about one-third of the needed transmission lines will be in the same right-of-way as existing electric lines.


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