Rural Mainers Urge Ban on Seizing Private Land Via Eminent Domain for Wind Project Backed by Foreign Asset Funds

By Seamus Othot

January 24, 2024

Mainers appeared in Augusta on Wednesday to defend their right to private property during a public hearing on a bill which would prevent the state from forcibly seizing private land for the construction of a high-power transmission line.

The controversial transmission line, which is without a developer following LS Power’s decision to pull out of the project, would theoretically connect Massachusetts renewable energy customers to a proposed wind farm 92 percent owned by foreign investors.

The project has previous had the backing of a bipartisan group of Aroostook County politicians, including Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook), Senate Republican Leader Trey Stewart (R-Aroostook), and Rep. Austin Theriault (R-Fort Kent), who is also running for Congress in Maine’s Second Congressional District.

Although the transmission line and related wind farm were original billed as “green” energy projects that would bring jobs to the County, momentum has been building against the transmission line as the prospect of developers using eminent domain has become more likely.

“Last summer when my husband and I learned that we might lose a portion of our home to a high-voltage transmission line, we were devastated, our hearts were shattered, and our sanctuary was under threat,” said Tanya Blanchard, a Maine landowner and advocate against using eminent domain for the transmission line.

Sen. Chip Curry (D-Waldo) presented his bill, LD 2087, at a public hearing of the Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology (EUT).

Sen. Curry’s bill would entirely prohibit the use of eminent domain in the construction of the controversial Aroostook Renewable Gateway, the name that’s been given to the transmission line that would connect New England’s power grid to the proposed King Pine Wind Farm.

The gateway is an energy transmission line which would cut a 160-mile-long, 150-foot-wide swath through northern and central Maine in the name of providing customers, most of whom would be based in New Hampshire, with electricity that would qualify for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Due to the size of the transmission line, eminent domain would almost certainly need be used to seize land necessary for the project from rural landowners.

Sen. Curry, a Democrat who supports Maine’s renewable energy efforts, was nonetheless opposed to the use of eminent domain to build the transmission line. Although his bill simply stops the use of eminent domain, he suggested that the EUT consider alternatives such the use of existing corridors, or the use of public other than private land.

Blanchard, along with one of her sons, sat through a four-hour hearing on another topic in order to be able to testify in defense of the family land that they love.

One landowner, Brooke Delorme of Palermo, who’s land will not be directly impacted by the transmission line, spoke out to defend the rights of those who were affected, and to point out the impact on the nearly 3,000 parcels of land adjacent to those affected.

“If a property were impacted by the view of a transmission line it could have a 63 percent property value diminution,” said Delorme, citing information from New Hampshire Public Radio.

Eric Rolfson, a Maple syrup producer in Northern Maine whose property, gained and cultivated over fifty years of work, stands in the proposed path of the line, also spoke in favor of the bill.

Rolfson highlighted the fact that, despite the significant impact on property value, the proposed use of eminent domain would only compensate people for the land actually used, with no provisions made for the loss of value for the rest of the property.

In total, eight Maine landowners spoke up in favor of Curry’s bill to defend their property rights.

Only one speaker, Jay Nutting, came to oppose the protections.

Nutting is a professional lobbyist from Maine Street Solutions, who spoke on behalf of the Maine Renewable Energy association.

The Maine Wire is the only outlet in the state that has reported on the foreign financial interests behind the Aroostook Renewable Gateway.

In September, the Maine Wire reported that the King Pine Wind Farm, a project of the Boston-based Longroad Energy firm, was owned 92 percent by foreign interests, including the sovereign wealth fund of New Zealand, a large New Zealand-based asset fund, and a German asset fund.

From September..............................

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Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 27, 2024 at 2:14pm

Foreign investments seem to have two different levels, one that benefits Mainers which is bad and one that benefits certain investors that's okay! What seems to be happening is this Mills regime is selling off Maine and to hell with Mainers!

Comment by Willem Post on January 26, 2024 at 11:04am

Doubling down on Offshore to lose more money on projects, and to increase household electric rates to astronomical levels during an election year, and achieve NO reduction in CO2 or in atmospheric temperature?

These offshore wind projects benefit only the large wind conglomerates in Europe.

These wind turbines and supporting electrical systems are made in Europe, then shipped to the US, and are financed by European pension funds.

Eastern States get all the ugliness, and a higher cost of electricity, and the taxpayers have to pay for 50% subsidies, and the workers in Eastern states have to be soooo grateful to do some of the maintenance, with very expensive replacement parts coming from Europe

Biden and Mill of Maine and Murphy of New Jersey are royally screwing the US people for the benefit of Europeans.

Vote Trump in with a landslide, so he can wipe out all the Biden idiocy off the map



New York State had signed contracts with EU big wind companies for four offshore wind projects

Sometime later, the companies were trying to coerce an additional $25.35 billion (per Wind Watch) from New York ratepayers and taxpayers over at least 20 years, because they had bid at lower prices than they should have.

New York State denied the request on October 12, 2023; “a deal is a deal”, said the Commissioner 


Owners want a return on investment of at least 10%/y, if bank loans for risky projects are 6.5%/y, and project cost inflation and uncertainties are high 

The about 3.5% is a minimum for all the years of hassles of designing, building, erecting, and paperwork of a project

The project prices, with no subsidies, would be about two times the agreed contract price, paid by Utilities to owners.

The reduction is due to US subsidies provided, per various US laws

All contractors had bid too low. When they realized there would be huge losses, they asked for higher contract prices.

It looks like the contract prices will need to be at least $150/MWh, for contractors to make money. Those contract prices would be at least 60% higher than in 2021

Oersted, Denmark, Sunrise wind, contract price $110.37/MWh, contractor needs $139.99/MWh, a 27% increase

Equinor, Norway, Empire 1 wind, contract price $118.38/MWh, contractor needs $159.64/MWh, a 35% increase

Equinor, Norway, Empire 2 wind, contract price $107.50/MWh, contractor needs $177.84/MWh, a 66% increase

Equinor, Norway, Beacon Wind, contract price $118.00/MWh, contractor needs $190.82/MWh, a 62% increase

NOTE: Empire Wind 2, 1260 MW, near Long- Island, was cancelled.

Comment by Dan McKay on January 25, 2024 at 1:56pm

This project is destined to metastasize into a massive corridor as there are many more solar and wind developments eyeballing the County. L S Power wants this project to obtain a Public Policy Transmission Upgrade definition from ISO-NE which potentially means incorporating all the New England states into the proposal. Maine land is to become slave land. 

Comment by Willem Post on January 25, 2024 at 8:23am

Plus these wind turbines and supporting electrical systems are made in Europe, then shipped and financed by European pension funds.

Main gets all the ugliness and and a higher cost of electricity and has to pay for 50% subsidies, and gets to do some of the maintenance, with parts coming from Europe

Biden and Mill have royally screwed the US and Maine


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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