Boothbay planning board eyes workshops for possible solar, wind power ordinances

Fri, 02/18/2022 - 8:45am

The Boothbay Planning Board agreed to schedule workshops to review land use ordinances on renewable energy structures. Board members made their decision following a Feb. 16 request by local fisherman Eben Wilson and business owner Alison Evans who voiced concerns the town had no control over the New England Aqua Ventus project in East Boothbay. NEAV is s a partnership between Maine Prime Technologies – a business arm of the University of Maine – and two wind industry companies. Diamond Offshore Wind is a Japanese subsidiary of Mitsubishi, and RWE Renewables is German-owned. 

“Citizens feel like there should be checks and balances at the local level for this. There are none. They are using a public right of way on Route 96 which means all the oversight is from the state,” Wilson said.

NEAV is developing an off-shore wind turbine which will be off Mohegan Island. Boothbay was picked as an on-shore location for connecting off-shore  “green” electricity to the power grid via Central Maine Power’s Boothbay Harbor substation. In November, East Boothbay residents became concerned seeing surveyors on their properties without notice or permission. Several residents complained the workers declined to reveal their employer. Later, it was revealed the workers were employed by NEAV.

Evans told the planning board this was an example of NEAV’s “pattern of secrecy.” She believes Boothbay is NEAV’s third choice after two other communities, Bristol and Port Clyde, forced it to choose another site.

“Diamond has a history of doing this type of thing. They don’t ask permission. They do what they want, and apologize later,” she said. “There are many unanswered questions, but they don’t have to put anything in front of the town because they don’t have to.”

The board agreed current land use ordinances don’t spell out restrictions for renewable power projects, but Chairman William Wright disagreed about the town having no oversight. Wilson and Evans sent the board a letter last month citing their concerns and copies of Bristol’s and Port Clyde’s wind power ordinances. “I recognized several points in our ordinance that are in Port Clyde’s and Bristol’s. So I have to disagree there is no town oversight,” he said. “But I understand these are emerging technologies, and we should take a look at them.”

On whether the current ordinance provides oversight for projects like NEAV’s, town officials responded it depends upon the application. “Since there is nothing before us, it’s hard to comment so I think you are a little ahead of the process,” Wright told Evans and Wilson.

Wright was joined by two other board members, Peggy Kotin and Mike Thompson, in reaching a consensus on holding workshops, possibly as soon as March.


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Comment by Penny Gray on February 20, 2022 at 6:06pm

Skulking about under the radar is the MO of these "developers". If this is the best we can do for "emerging technologies", Captain Kirk and the Enterprise are doomed, to say nothing of us.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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