Moscow residents approve ban on commercial solar farms

December 1, 2023

BY JAKE FREUDBERG MORNING SENTINEL

EXCERPTS

MOSCOW — Residents at a special town meeting Thursday voted to prohibit commercial solar farms, opting to go a step further than many other towns in central Maine when it comes to restricting the development of large solar projects.

Moscow joins a growing list of Maine municipalities that have passed measures limiting or temporarily prohibiting solar farms. But it is unclear if any other places have adopted permanent bans like Moscow’s. What’s also unclear is if the ordinance is even legal.

The town of about 500 people previously enacted a moratorium on solar farms, and in September also passed a “very restrictive” ordinance, according to First Selectman Donald Beane.

But a group of residents pressed the town to go even further. “There are quite a few people who don’t want any at all,” Beane said.

Beane, who voted against the ban, said he doubted its legality.

“We had legal opinions from our lawyer and (the) Maine Municipal (Association) saying it wouldn’t hold up,” Beane said..............

.............The ban passed 16-4 with no discussion in the meeting held at Moscow Elementary School. Residents mentioned several concerns about the impact of large-scale solar developments.

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“They take up too much space,” Dee Laweryson said.

Joan Petersen called the farms an “eyesore” and was concerned about how they could affect wildlife, such as deer.

“What’s going to leak into the ground?” she added, referring to potential contamination from expired solar panels.

Several municipalities across the state in recent years have passed moratoriums or other restrictions on commercial solar developments. In central Maine, voters and officials in Augusta, Belgrade, Norridgewock, Rome, Smithfield and West Gardiner, among others, have passed measures putting a temporary hold on new developments.

Please read the full article at https://www.centralmaine.com/2023/12/01/moscow-residents-approve-ba...

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

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(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 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From 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?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From 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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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