Yesterday, the Land Use Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny NextEra's request to expand the expedited wind area by 25000 acres to accommodate their proposed industrial wind farms (Moose and Alder Stream Wind) in western Somerset and Franklin counties. The denial is a huge setback for NextEra's bid for a 20 year renewable energy contract with MA as part of their MA Clean Energy RFP. NextEra will have to go through the legislature to get the EWA expansion. Given the solid opposition to the projects by the Somerset and Piscataquis County Commissioners and the regional legislative delegation (Sen. Davis, Rep.Sterans, Rep. Stetkis, Rep. Grignon) it may not be an easy time for the developer in Augusta.
The denial also puts a huge hole in CMP's bid to MA for the Maine Clean Power Connection transmission corridor. Without NextEra's output, the line would face difficult economics and most likely kill their hopes of being selected in the MA RFP process.
Resistance to these projects has ramifications throughout the region. The Moosehead Region Futures Committee (MRFC) along with the county commissioners and legislative delegation has proven to be an effective deterrent to the steamrolling wind industry and their cohorts. Opposition to NRG's Somerset Wind project on the western side of Moosehead is continuing to fight the fight and demonstrating positive results in consolidating local opposition to the project. In addition, MRFC has stepped forward on CMP's NECEC transmission corridor with their request for public hearings. MRFC has been joined by NRCM, Sierra Club and the Maine Appalachian Trail Club in the DEP permit review process. The decision as to whether to intervene is in the works with both groups.
So opposition to industrial wind in Maine is alive and successfully pushing back the industry and their many friends in Augusta. With 3500 megawatts in the queue for Maine wind development at ISO New England, we still have a great deal of work to do. But yesterday was a win for the bad actors (according to Patrick Woodcock). Let's build on this win and renew our commitment to fighting the scourge of industrial wind in Maine. Merry Christmas!!!