RUMFORD – With two windmill projects tentatively planned for the River Valley area, the Natural Resources Council of Maine with the River Valley Growth Council, decided to hold a panel discussion on wind power.

Dylan Voorhees, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Council of Maine and energy director for the organization, said Independence Wind, based in Brunswick, is proposing to build about 20 wind turbines in the Roxbury area.

The panel discussion will be at the Black Mountain ski lodge, Thursday, Oct. 9 starting at 5:30 p.m.

First Wind, based in Portland and Boston, is about to begin the state and local approval process for construction of about 20 turbines atop White Cap Mountain in the Rumford and Roxbury area.

Voorhees said First Wind is the same company that has nearly completed construction of a 40-turbine wind farm in Stetson, a town between Lincoln and Danforth. That will be the second wind farm in the state. Mars Hill, in Aroostook County, was the first.

“Windpower is not an easy subject,” Voorhees said. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there.”

He said the NRCM generally supports such projects providing they are properly designed.

Four speakers will offer their views on wind turbines:

• Gary McGrane, a Franklin County commissioner, will discuss a planned wind turbine project scheduled for Kibby Mountain in northern Franklin County by Transcanada.

• Jim Shaw, a lifelong resident of Mars Hill and owner of several businesses in Aroostook County, will speak on how the turbine project has affected that area.

• Greg Shelton, who worked on the Stetson wind farm, will give a presentation.

• Travis Kearney, general manager of Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill, will speak from the perspective of living in a home that has views of the wind farm.

Big Rock and Black Mountain are both owned by Maine Winter Sports Center.

After presentations by the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the four speakers, a question and answer session will follow.

Patricia Duguay, director of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, will moderate. Andy Shepard of the Maine Winter Sports Center is host.

Those wishing to attend the free informational session are asked to contact the NRCM at 800-287-2345, X205 or [email protected]

Voorhees said other wind projects are in the initial stages now in Auburn, Lincoln and several sites in Aroostook County.

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