GREENVILLE, Maine — Town officials intend to move forward with plans to install solar panels on the Greenville Municipal Building for energy conservation, but a companion wind turbine eyed for the downtown may be scrapped.
The town recently was awarded a $79,000 energy conservation grant administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to install a 10-kilowatt wind turbine and four solar-radiant thermal collectors to help power and heat the municipal building. Plum Creek Foundation also donated $3,500 for the project.
At a public hearing Wednesday, the small group of residents who attended appeared to favor the solar panels but were opposed to spoiling the downtown view with a wind turbine located behind the fire station.
“I personally don’t want to look at a tower,” downtown resident Janet Chasse said. She also noted that there would be noise from the machine. “I think it would take away the feel of the downtown.”
Resident Loren Ritchie also opposed the downtown location, noting that it is the unspoiled beauty of the community that draws visitors. Whatever step is taken, it has to be the right one because it will set a trend, he said.
Mildred Kennedy-Stirling, on the other hand, supported the downtown location for the wind turbine. There are no zoning laws against it and she said the town already is noisy from the traffic of log trucks, seaplanes, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
Because some residents suggested that the tower would be better suited at the public works garage or recycling center, town officials plan to check with the PUC to see whether that would be permissible under the grant.
Selectmen agreed Wednesday to place the wind turbine project as a stand-alone article on the June 1 town meeting warrant to get more local comment. They do, however, intend to proceed and request bids for the solar panels. The $3,500 Plum Creek grant should be sufficient to pay for the local match for the solar panels, according to Greenville Town Manager John Simko.