January 8, 2020 by Johanna S. Billings
COLUMBIA — The wind may be blowing a new source of power into Washington County.
Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Va., is developing plans for a wind farm in Columbia and land nearby in the Unorganized Territory, with hopes of completing the project in October 2022, said Paul Williamson, a senior development manager with the company.
The project, known as Downeast Wind, is proposed for 22,000 acres in Columbia and townships 18 and 24 in the Unorganized Territory. A total of 30 wind turbines would be spread out over that area on tracts of private land for which Apex has obtained 30-year leases. The turbine hubs will stand 410 feet tall and will be 656 feet total from base to the turbine tip. Approximately eight of the turbines will be in Columbia on land located off Route 1 in the 4 Corners area.
“This is a valuable investment opportunity for the area,” said Williamson, a Scarborough resident, as he sat in the company’s Columbia office last week.........................
Williamson said the current plans accommodate wildlife, specifically a threatened species of bird known as the upland sandpiper that lives in the grassland near the coast. Proposed turbine sites were moved out of the sandpiper habitat and flight path. Five turbines will be turned off in May and June so as not to interfere with the birds’ courting rituals. And, turbines will be at least one mile from eagles’ nests.
Williamson said the project does not affect the Great Heath, which the project surrounds on three sides, or any other conserved areas.
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