CLIFTON, Maine — Folks who are against a five-turbine wind farm proposed for Pisgah Mountain made their concerns known Thursday night at the second and last public hearing held on the project before planners are expected to make their decision.
Peter Beckford, the resident closest to the proposed $25 million project, described the mountain as “an enchanted forest” that will be ruined by the installation of the wind farm.
Bangor businessman Paul Fuller and his wife, Sandy, purchased 270 acres on Pisgah Mountain a couple of years ago and have been working since 2009 to develop a wind farm on the property. Fuller and business partner Mike Smith answered all questions Thursday, basically saying each issue raised already has been addressed in their substantial, report-filled application.
“We have a good wind resource that can make power for 5,000 homes in Maine,” Paul Fuller said. “The power is going to stay local in Penobscot and Hancock counties.”
Fuller and other Pisgah Mountain LLC partners want to put up five Vestas V90-1.8 MW wind turbines. Each of the turbines will be approximately 308 feet tall at the hub and 455 feet at the top of the propeller blade.
Other residents at Thursday’s public hearing voiced concerns about harm to wildlife, blade glint and if there is enough money set aside to pay for decommissioning the units. Some, including Beckford’s Bangor attorney Charles Gilbert, questioned whether studies and findings about ambient noise levels in the developer’s application were accurate.
Eric Johns, chairman of the planning board, reminded Gilbert that the town also hired independent experts to conduct their own studies.
Planning board members gave the Pisgah Mountain wind farm project provisional approval at their June meetings, providing they supplied five additional items — a Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit, a substation site plan, an interconnect agreement with the local power grid, mylar maps and evidence of financial capability — which now have been submitted.
“We are only the second wind farm in the state to get an uncontested DEP permit,” Fuller said.
Planners will consider the evidence submitted Thursday and comments made at their Oct. 5 planning board meeting. The decision on whether to approve the wind farm is on the agenda for their Oct. 12 meeting. Both meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Resident John Williams said those opposed to the local wind farm need to understand that the planning board is just doing its job.
“Tonight’s hearing is to determine if the developer had followed and meets all the guidelines of the Clifton town ordinance,” he said. “Please keep to the facts and the ordinance, and steer clear of emotions.”