With 1200 to 2000 MW planned, Number Nine Wind “Farm” will be bigger than Baxter State “Park” and far and away bigger than any “farm” in New England. Number Nine was huge when first proposed many years ago, but it has since...
...acquired the rights that First Wind had at the King Pine and Horse Mountain project proposals, which are planned for just north of Baxter.
All of these proposed projects have been held in abeyance because there has been a transmission gap between Aroostook County and the New England grid.
That gap is about to be filled.
One of the speakers at the Chamber event, Number Nine's Craig Nale, worked https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-nale-205840128/
at the right hand of Senate President Troy Jackson until shortly before Jackson in 2021 sponsored the Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program.
Jackson's bill, LD 1710
, was printed on a Friday afternoon (May 14). The legislative leaders quietly waived the 2-week public notice requirement and the bill had a hasty 9:30 am public hearing less than two business days later (Tuesday May 18). And then the Utilities Committee voted it in just one brief work session (June 4). It took legislative staff a mere 12 days to produce the committee’s bill report, and it immediately leapfrogged hundreds of bills that had been awaiting votes, and it passed the House and Senate unanimously, without a recorded roll call vote, on June 16 & 17.
One legislator (Rep. Nate Wadsworth) did vote against it in committee, but it was such a slam dunk, Wadsworth didn’t even debate it when it got to the House Floor, and it passed with the bang of a gavel (under the hammer). It was signed into law 12 days later by the governor.
(Sounds eerily similar to the heinous process that got us the Expedited Wind Act more than a decade earlier, huh?)
As of May, the PUC has received all the bids for a huge transmission line(s) and thousands of MW of renewable generation. PUC Commissioners are deliberating now, and awards will be made by year end.
None of the “interested parties” whose hair was on fire about the Hydro Quebec / NECEC transmission line have ever uttered a peep about this boondoggle, which could sully the vistas in Baxter, which could extend west across the Allagash, St. John and Deboullie wilderness regions, and which will have an environmental impact exponentially higher than the little but mighty power line that NECEC proposed. Not to mention the high quality of dispatchable hydro power vs. stochastic wind/solar.