MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Town Council read, and seemed to like, the planning board’s proposed regulations addressing residential wind turbines within town lines during the regulations’ first public hearing on Thursday.
Under the proposed Millinocket regulations, wind turbines would be allowed within most town zones but would not be allowed to exceed 50 kilowatts of generating capacity. Most of Maine’s industrial wind site turbines generate 1.5 megawatts.
Under the regulations, turbines would be limited to generating no more than 60 decibels from the nearest property line from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 50 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. No lighting or advertising signage would be allowed on the towers or turbines. Violators would face fines of $50 a day; repeat offenders, $100 a day.
Councilors had questions about the regulations but had no immediate objections. Councilor Michael Madore wondered why other town fines weren’t steeper.
“I would love to see [illegal] junkyards around here once they are served be fined in the area of $100 a day,” Madore said Thursday.
Councilor Jimmy Busque questioned why the board proposed a 50-kilowatt limit. Board Chairman Anthony Filauro said that such limits were found consistently within other municipal turbine regulations around the state and that the fine structure was suggested by town officials.
“Fifty kilowatts gives a lot of flexibility [for turbine owners], but it’s not unusually large,” he said.
Wind turbines would have to be erected with minimum removal of trees and be in compliance with manufacturer’s recommendations. Council Chairman Scott Gonya said he didn’t appreciate the idea of limiting tree removal on personal property. Filauro said the board wanted to limit the unnecessary cutting of trees.
Owners of wind turbines that are inoperable for six consecutive months would have to repair them or have them removed at their own expense within six months of receiving notification.
If the council approves the regulations, Millinocket will join a small but growing number of municipalities statewide that have adopted regulations controlling wind turbine development or have instituted moratoriums until such regulations can be adopted.