Franklin County to repay state for wind farm tax abatement

By Donna M. Perry | Sun Journal


According to a letter sent to Helix Maine Wind Development on March 4 by the Maine Revenue Services Property Tax Division, the state reduced the valuation of the 44-turbine facility by $54.86 million. As a result, a refund of $469,611.60 is warranted for property in the townships of Wyman, Jim Pond, Kibby, Chain of Ponds and Skinner for tax year 2020, according to supervisor Lisa Whynot’s letter to Helix. The refund to Helix is expected to be issued within four to six weeks.

TransCanada Maine Wind Development estimated in 2006 the wind farm would be a $250 million to $300 million project. The company sought approval from then-Maine Land Use Regulation Commission to have the area rezoned and for a preliminary development plan to construct the turbines on about 13.7 miles of ridge line on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Range in Kibby Township and a small portion of Skinner Township, near the Canadian border. transmission lines, substation and roads were also involved.

The project was approved in 2008 and the turbines were installed in 2009 and 2010. When the company sought another state permit in 2010 to expand the project, the original wind energy facility was estimated to be a $320 million project. Only the 44-turbine, 132-megawatt facility is connected to the county’s TIF.

The state recently did a revaluation of the unorganized territory. According to state abatement information, the wind energy facility was valued at $174.36 million for the properties listed in the abatement request for 2020 tax year, prior to the valuation being reduced.

Magoon’s understanding is that an inappropriate depreciation method was used. There is newer equipment now than when when the facility was first built, she said.

The county entered into an Enterprise Tax-Increment Finance and Development Program in 2008, involving the unorganized territory, with then-owners of the facility, TransCanada Maine Wind Development. The agreement was transferred to Helix when L.S. Power finalized the purchase of the facility in 2017 through its affiliate Helix Generation from TransCanada Corp. There have been three approved amendments to the TIF since it was implemented.

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Comment by Penny Gray on March 20, 2021 at 7:56pm

Oh, in Carthage we got a basketball hoop at the town office and a chicken barbecue.  It was great!  Oh, and twenty bucks plus or minus off our tax bills for a few years before the town was reevaluated and taxes began to climb.  This was all predicted by the skeptics, but their predictions were ignored by those who hoped the wind projects would improve their quality of life.  That's why these wind developers target poor rural towns with mountain ranges rambling through them.

Comment by arthur qwenk on March 20, 2021 at 6:48pm

Wind company Interlopers, with the blessings  of the dumbed down "Green Dream" left wing progressive legislature run by the democrat graft machine (with cooperation of republicans who often will not take an aggressive oppositional stance in the state), have royally screwed the average Mainer, regularly and routinely with these projects.

It is why the Maine taxpayer gets continually screwed ,because  the value of the projects is never fully reflected in the local communities tax base. There are never appropriate impact cost assessments as well to the communities. They buy them a fire truck or two, a” cheap date', and a numb one at that, then they do it to them .

But Mainer's seem in general too numb or greenwashed  to understand this, but those wind companies sure do, and so does the American Wind Energy Association as it attempts to put in more of them there. They indeed love Maine.

This is what keeps these scumbags in business, and what also keeps Mainers poor.

Tax these things at full assessed value, no long term depreciation allowances  other than that allowed by US tax law . They already get unneeded  excessive  subsidies. TIFs are being abused . This was never the purpose of TIF, ever as devised by Maine's revenue service.

TIF  was for job creation in  the communities, not environmental and economic destruction of them. Few jobs are created long term for these abominations in the communities. They  are net  local parasitc green back sucking detriments to the communities (other than some local officials who feed off of the local graft that they do create.

This is improper utilization of the TIF, that should be removed by the legislature and have these monstrosities taxed at full value. The legislature should, right now ,  STOP all TIFs for these Destructive Projects.

Comment by Penny Gray on March 20, 2021 at 12:52pm

Wow, what a boon those TIFS have been to those tiny townships. Isn't accelerated depreciation one of the reasons these wind facilities change hands every five to seven years?


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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