Dear Officials: Please be advised that the purpose of this letter is to express the Somerset County Commissioners’ opposition to additional industrial scale wind development and its associated facilities in Somerset County or the Moosehead Lake Region for the following reasons: The adverse visual impact of 500+ foot wind turbines and associated transmission required for
"On wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."
Project Name: Northwest Wind
Developer: EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc. – Pittsburgh, PA
Location: The proposed project will start at the northern end of the Little Moose Mountain ridgeline overlooking Big Indian Pond and continue west over the Burnt Nubble and Black Nubble peaks towards Moxie Pond. The turbine layout will span Moosehead Junction Township and Squaretown Township with a transmission corridor extending into either Moxie Gore or The Forks Plantation to reach a grid connection at Route 201.
Project Size: 24 turbines/79.2 Megawatts (potential based on current turbine standards)
Turbine Equipment: TBD – Turbine mode TBD – most likely medium velocity Siemens or Vesta turbines.
Turbine Nameplate Capacity – 3.45 megawatt (de-rated to 3.3 megawatts)
(Nameplate is the megawatt output rating of an industrial turbine operating at 100% of capacity. On average, turbines in Maine operate at 27%-30% of nameplate capacity. For example, Somerset Wind at 100% capacity would generate 85.5 megawatts annually, but actual capacity will range from 23 to 26 megawatts annually.)
Turbine hub height: 300 feet (approximate)
Turbine blade length: 192 feet (approximate)
Turbine height to blade tip: 492 feet (approximate)
The viewshed analysis you are viewing was produced by the ESS Group – technical consultants to Moosehead Region Futures. ESS utilizes state-of-the-art software modeling to determine the visual impact of large industrial facilities such as industrial wind farms and high voltage transmission lines. The ESS Group (www.essgroup.com) has extensive experience in evaluating the visual impact of industrial wind facilities.
A vewshed analysis is conducted to determine the geographic areas within the visual study area (8, 12, and 25 miles) that have a reasonable probability of project visibility. The viewshed analysis conducted for Moosehead Region Futures focuses primarily on Blade Tip Visibility (492 feet), the highest project component of a wind turbine generator.
Based upon the current information of the proposed or hypothetical project location, the number of turbines and turbine height, areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.
Map #2 demonstrates project visibility, or the combined visual impact, of the proposed EverPower/Northwest Wind and the proposed SunEdison/Somerset Wind (A-1 easement only) projects within an 8, 12 and 25 mile area from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.
Map #3 demonstrates the combined visual impact of the proposed EverPower/Northwest Wind and full build-out of the proposed SunEdison/Somerset Wind project. The current proposal for SunEdsion/Somerset Wind is for easement A-1 only, but documents previously submitted by SunEdison identify the potential to expand the facility into easements A-2 and A-3. The visual impact analysis covers areas within an 8, 12, and 25 mile radius from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.
EverPower has been actively working on their proposed plans for the Northwest Wind 24 turbine industrial wind farm near Big Indian Pond. In 2015, EverPower installed a meteorological (met) tower near Black Nubble to initiate wind resource data collection – a common practice for wind developers when they begin the evaluation of wind resources in a particular location. Typically, the wind resource evaluation takes a year to complete.
Earlier this year, EverPower submitted applications to the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) for two additional met towers on the northern portion of the same ridgeline in Moosehead Junction Township. LUPC reviewed the applications and asked EverPower to provide more detail on their visual impact. EverPower has yet to respond to the LUPC request with additional visual impact data. We assume they are continuing to collect data from their original tower near Black Nubble.
In addition to the delays in met tower applications, the petition process for removing unorganized townships from the expedited wind area may have impacted EverPower’s development plans for Northwest Wind. Moosehead Junction Township, which accounts for a large portion of the proposed development site, has been removed from the expedited wind area. With Moosehead Junction removed, EverPower is faced with a difficult, but not insurmountable task, of initiating the legal process to have Moosehead Junction reinstated into the expedited wind area. EverPower has stated they will seek reinstatement if the ridgeline in Moosehead Junction Township is needed to carry out their development plans. They can exercise that option at any time.
Based upon their current activities with met tower locations, Moosehead Junction appears to be a central component of their plans for Northwest Wind
We’ll update the status of this project as information becomes available.
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