LINCOLN, Maine — In what might be the beginning of Maine’s first major legal battle over wind power, the Lincoln Appeals Board will hear an appeal Thursday of First Wind of Massachusetts’ town permit to build a proposed $130 million wind farm on Rollins Mountain.
Attorney and Maine Green Independent Party gubernatorial candidate Lynne A. Williams of Bar Harbor filed an appeal with the appeals board on Dec. 16 on behalf of a group opposing the project, the Friends of Lincoln Lakes. The group argues that First Wind’s turbines do not belong in the residential zones of Rollins Mountain.
Williams claimed the board’s decision effectively defined the farm’s 40 380-foot turbines as major public utilities, which, she said, typically are considered “electricity, water, sanitary, sewer, storm water drainage, telephone and cable television” associated with residential uses.
First Wind wants to build the turbines, each generating 1.5 megawatts, on ridgelines in Burlington, Lincoln, Lee and Winn. The project would generate at least $400,000 in tax revenue for the town annually, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin has said. It still needs approval from the other towns and state and federal agencies, including the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Project proponents have praised First Wind as a conscientious creator of wind power, saying the Lincoln Lakes project would create as much as 60 megawatts of pollution-free electricity in peak winds.
The Friends group contends the turbines would threaten human and animal health, reduce land values with light flicker and low-decibel sound, and typically generate a fraction of their capacity.
The hearing will be held at the town office at 7 p.m. Thursday. If the board rejects the appeal, the group has 30 days to seek redress by filing an appeal in Maine District Court.