Bucksport to test potential wind power site

Posted Sept. 28, 2009, at 8:37 p.m.

BUCKSPORT, Maine — The town plans to explore the possibility of wind power.

The only question is whether it will move forward on its own or with a prospective developer.

The Town Council last week authorized Town Manager Roger Raymond to move forward with wind testing on a 51-acre parcel the town purchased last year from the Buck Estates. The property is the highest point in the town, and the town has viewed it as a potential site for wind generators. That was one of the attractions when the town purchased the property.

The issue resurfaced last week after a potential developer approached the town about doing some testing, Raymond said Monday. They want to see if there is enough wind to support windmills, he said.

“We’ll set up a test structure so we can test the wind velocity,” Raymond said. “That’ll be about 150 feet tall.”

The property is adjacent to the new middle school, and part of the town’s interest in wind power is that it could provide power for the school.

“We’d like to know if there’s enough wind to support the middle school and to see if it would work on a commercial basis,” Raymond said.

Although under the state’s school reorganization law, the middle school was turned over to the newly formed regional school unit, Raymond said, the town still was interested in keeping energy costs down.

“We’re still the biggest payer into that,” he said. “Absolutely, we’re interested in looking at anything that will help us operate efficiently at the school.”

Wind power is part of an overall plan by the town to look at alternative energy sources for schools and other municipal buildings that will include not only wind power, but also natural gas and wood. The town and the school district also have cooperated on an energy audit of their buildings in an effort to reduce energy costs.

Raymond has not set a timetable for the wind tests, but said he plans to discuss the test site with the prospective developer before deciding how to move forward with the project.

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