Tag Archives: Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power

Mainers full of gusto for wind power, survey finds | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers full of gusto for wind power, survey finds | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Jackson residents approve wind turbine limits

JACKSON, Maine — Residents this weekend approved a controversial wind turbine ordinance that would impose strict regulations on industrial wind power developments.

Among other things, the ordinance — written by the planning board and the wind energy subcommittee — stipulates that any 400-foot-tall turbines erected must be at least a mile from any houses.

Although the 111-75 vote Saturday morning at a special town meeting has cheered many who oppose large-scale wind facilities in Maine, it also has dismayed some in this rural town of about 500 people who feel the ordinance is too restrictive and shortsighted.

“I was disappointed,” said Duane Lahaye of Jackson, a past member of the planning board who uses several small windmills at his home. “We have to think as an entire nation. We can’t just think as people who don’t want it ‘in my backyard.’ For the better good of everybody, these windmills would have been great.”

The new ordinance replaces a moratorium on wind energy projects that has been in place since January 2009 and was enacted in response to proposals to erect a series of wind towers along Mount Harris and Ricker Ridge in Jackson, Dixmont and Thorndike. Dixmont voters last November approved an ordinance requiring a 1-mile setback between wind turbines and homes.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Abigail Curtis of the Bangor Daily News.

Wind backers decry conflict-of-interest claims

Gov. Baldacci and an ex-PUC chief,

now a wind developer, are among

those who let industry sway policy, critics say

 As Maine rushes to embrace wind power, unnamed critics posting on Internet sites and reader comment pages contend that money and political connections – reaching all the way to the governor’s office – are greasing the skids.

A repeated theme, for instance, focuses on Gov. John Baldacci and Kurt Adams, former chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Adams served as Baldacci’s chief counsel. The governor appointed him chairman of the PUC in 2005. Adams left in 2008 to be a top executive at First Wind, the state’s most active wind-power developer. Posters allege that Adams has since benefited from his connections with Baldacci to gain permits and generous taxpayer subsidies for big wind projects.

The charge has become more persistent over the past year, as the pace of energy development has picked up in Maine, fueled by federal stimulus money, efforts to cut reliance on oil and strong support for renewable energy by both Baldacci and President Obama.

But in interviews with the Maine Sunday Telegram, Adams and a spokesman for Baldacci say their conduct has been legal and appropriate, and that organized opponents of wind development are using innuendo to influence public opinion.

The connections aren’t secret, they say, and the charges lack specific – or accurate – accounts of any wrongdoing.

Click this link for the rest of today’s story by Tux Turkel of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. (Note: there seems to be a problem with the website’s pages for this story. You may have to click to the second page of the story for the beginning. — KM)