Peru board to write wind power ordinance

Peru board to write wind power ordinance

Published on Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:12 am | Last updated on Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:12 am 1 Comment

PERU — The Planning Board agreed Tuesday night to gather information to write an industrial wind ordinance, after reviewing questionnaires returned by residents.

Members also agreed to work on a moratorium on wind power developments in case a company applies for a project in town.

The questionnaire asked residents to choose one of three options on how the town should regulate commercial wind power development:

* Zoning had 77 check marks.

* Developing an ordinance more strict than the state regulations, but not banning wind development, had 40 check marks.

* Using existing Maine Department of Environmental Protection regulations had 54 check marks.

Some board members said they saw the survey results as a no vote on wind power. A total of 171 questionnaires were returned.

Bill Hine said that although there were 77 votes for zoning, the other two options had a total of 94 votes, which he did not see as residents being against wind power development.

J.R. Worthington noted that the muddy Androscoggin River was evidence of material coming off mountains where wind turbines are being erected.

Warren Oldham said he had been to some of the sites and the roads being built to them were destroying acres and acres of timber.

Resident Kevin Benedict was concerned about the runoff going into streams and ponds. He suggested that the Planning Board write an ordinance to protect the most vulnerable mountains.

Hine mentioned that the Comprehensive Plan addresses the protection of mountains at risk.

Resident Warren MacFawn said there are already wind turbines visible from some mountains in town.

“There are over 50 in place and approved around us,” MacFawn said. "We can already see 11 on Spruce Mountain in Woodstock. Aesthetically we are surrounded. We are not isolated."

At the end of the discussion, Chairman Steve Fuller said that due to time constraints, he would no longer act as chairman and asked the board to choose another. Bill Hine was elected.

Letting the citizens decide

Fortunately, there are several wind ordinances in effect throughout the state and are available online for Peru citizens to review.
I would suggest, once an ordinance is written, that it be shown to a wind developer for their reaction to whether a proposed development in Peru could be undertaken. If the developer determines a project can not comply, then the committee will have created a document presenting the citizens a chose of whether to allow wind turbines in town. A " yes " to such an ordinance says " NO " to wind projects. A "no ' to such ordinance says " YES " to letting the DEP determine the fate of wind projects in Peru.
Good Luck with your efforts, Peru.... Many area towns will be taking notice and hopefully follow your lead in gathering information leading to giving the citizens a clear chose.



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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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