Franklin Countys First News

Details emerge on Farmington wind power project (8)

Brian Kuhn of Associated Wind Developers and Aeronautica Windpower of Plymouth, Mass., points to the comparable wind power turbine sizes at a planning board presentation Monday night in Farmington. The turbines proposed for the Bailey Farm acreage are the shortest model partially hidden behind Kuhn's arm.

FARMINGTON - The planning board and a handful of residents heard a few more details on a proposal to install four, 293-foot tall wind turbines off Davis Road near the Bailey Hill Road intersection.

Brian Kuhn, a principal of Associated Wind Developers from Plymouth, Mass., which develops wind power projects and Aeronautica Windpower, which manufactures 750 kilowatt, "queen-sized" or smaller turbines for more populated areas, described the project in Farmington at its infancy.

"We're in the concept and design stage to see what the appetite of the town is," he said.

A 50-foot tall meteorological tower was installed two weeks ago and will continue to measure the wind speed for another two months. If there's enough wind to warrant a project, the company will seek permitting to built the towers.

If a site permit is approved this fall or winter, Kuhn said construction could start next spring and be up and running by next fall. A wind power ordinance draft has not been adopted by Farmington voters yet. As things stand now, planners would be deciding site review issues only.

The four turbines, manufactured in New Hampshire, are proposed to be situated off Davis Road in a west to southwest pattern along the edges of Konrad Bailey's hay fields of a 240-acre parcel total. Kuhn said its a quarter mile to the nearest residence, "well outside the issue range of nuisance noise."

The wind turbines would be owned, financed and insured by a private company and the land each turbine sits on would be leased by landowner Bailey, as is any cell tower. Kuhn called it a "community wind project" and expects to offer the power generated for sale to schools, towns and or possibly Central Maine Power.

He termed the turbines as smaller in size and appropriate for the location.

"You don't have great wind so it requires smaller turbines," he said. He said the power generated could be potentially "producing more energy the town of Farmington uses." No new utility lines will be needed, the site sits next to a mid-sized transmission line, Bailey said afterward. A gravel road for turbine construction will need to be built. An up-turned light is required for airplanes at the top of each tower.

Planning board member Tom Eastler questioned the wind speed possibilities for such a project, based on his recordings from a met tower perched on Mosher Hill. He also noted that any noise factor, preferring to use "sound pressure" as the quantitative term, is "all in the ears of the beholder," Eastler said. Kuhn said decibel levels will be measured at the property's boundries.

"If you stand under the machine, you hear a 'whoosh, whoosh.' If you walk a tower's distance, it's hard to hear. If you walk two towers' distance, it's very hard to hear it," Kuhn said.

In response to a question by planning board member Bill Marceau, Kuhn described his four-year-old company as being "well funded." He said the high cost of manufacturing the turbines in the U.S. is offset by relatively low shipping costs other company's pay to have turbine parts sent here for installation from Europe. He added they will be relying on alternative energy tax credit for this project.

Brian Demshar, a resident of nearby Osborne Road, said he has concerns about the view he'll have from his house if four turbines are built.

"It's a very pretty view of farms and hills. The house points directly at that hill," Demshar said and questioned where the energy generated would go and what may happen to his property value if four turbines come into view.

Kuhn said research has shown that there is no change in property values after wind turbines become part of the view.

After the meeting, Kuhn said his company is currently evaluating 42 potential wind power sites on the east coast for up to four turbines at each site. As to becoming involved at the Farmington site, one of Kuhn's partners was visiting a relative on Bailey Hill Road and proposed looking into the possibility of turbines here.

Konrad Bailey said afterward the project will have "minimal impact" on the neighborhood, his farm's production and could be something good for generations to come. And there's plenty of wind, he said.

"The wind blows like crazy up there," Bailey said.

A conceptual plan for four wind turbines to be installed off Davis Road. At the top of the photo, Bailey Hill Road intersects with Davis Road.

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15 Responses »

  1. I left a similar comment on the older story, so posting again. The dozen turbines going up on Saddleback Ridge in Carthage (in view from Wilton, Mt. Blue State Park, Webb Lake, etc.) are 450' and no one around here seems to care. So, I imagine you won't care about these little ones, right? If you want to see a larger-scale project under construction, you can go to Roxbury on Rte 17 and witness the ruining of a beautiful long ridge there. It's a different scale and power going out of state. Do your homework, though, people. Don't go blindly along because you think you're saving the planet with these cuz you're not. The facts are out there.

  2. I have always been on the side of landowner rights; do what you like with what is rightly yours. However, why should our tax dollars help fund something that is doing nothing to lower power bills? And don't give me the "save the planet" crap. I think manufacturing these machines and carving power lines from here to Canada and who knows where is leaving quite a carbon footprint. This project equates with 10% ethanol in our gas; let's be happy with 10% less fuel mileage and even higher gas prices, not to mention what it has done to corn prices. It is time for to go back to the capitalistic practices that built this country. Private enterprise always trumps any government programs if only government would get out of the way.( And yes, we do need our government to regulate within reason, it should just stay out of business ventures.) From the postal service to Solyndra the track record is pretty dismal.

  3. I'm posting this again in hopes that more people will see my sister-in-law Sally's letter to me on this important subject. Sally lives in Maine (Franklin County) in the winter and lives in Alaska the rest of the year.

    Hi Sister-in-law, I thought I'd tell you about my evolution in the energy world. Four or five years ago there was a proposal to bring electricity to my part of the world (which we opposed on grounds of the development that would follow). It came, of course, and one day as I was sitting at one of the endless construction roadblocks it suddenly dawned on me that all the CONSTRUCTION vehicles had the APT logo (Alaska Power and Telephone). I thought, this is really wierd, why is this? and I started asking around. Turns out that nowadays power companies have two sides (at least), construction and operation. This matters.

    Suppose your little town decided to build a school. You would get bonds and grants and the whole deal, and give the construction grant to the lowest bidder and in the end you would take ownership of a nice new school, the operation of which which would be up to you (and the state, of course), right? Power companies on the other hand pick out a place, say Farmington, where they can quietly assess their chances of persuading people that a power project would be nice (that would be that petition you signed). They schmooze with the mayor, etc, and go on about big Federal bucks and jobs and so on. They find a farmer with cashflow problems who maybe would like to retire, and persuade him what a great thing this would be for everybody. And then eventually they get to the point of the trial balloon- that's the presentation to the local planning board. Where they go on about the "clean power of wind" and forget to mention anything else. All of this comes out of the company's pocket, but hey, you gotta spend money to make money, right?

    At this point they really get going. They slip a tentacle into the US treasury and start sucking up the funds. We (the US taxpayer) are still paying to build the entire facility, just like that school, but in the end we don't own the thing, the power company does. Their construction side makes the huge bucks on construction, and then their operation wing makes the huge bucks on selling us the power. Cute. And there is a LOT of money in it, which is why so many people are racing to the trough. Understanding how this works makes it possible to explain how they can afford to build these things so far from the point of sale, which is Boston: that only costs us. To the company, the further it is the better, they don't pay to build their own facilities, they are PAID to build. (Incidentally, pretending that they want to sell the power locally "at or below cost" is a common ploy, and who knows what "cost" might mean). Oh and there's none of that old-fashioned crap about lowest bidders- in this game the guy who got in there first with his proposal wins, and he gets to charge whatever he likes, pretty much.

    So what's wrong with it? Well, does Farmington have a tourism economy? Everybody hates looking at these things. You'll see them from all over town- they'll be clearing the whole hilltop and of course a 300 or 400' tower is a lot taller than anything around. If you are enjoying your rural lifestyle, living next to an industrial site will be a bit different. If you thought you were building equity in your property, bear in mind that nobody will buy it if you ever need to sell, but your taxes won't go down to compensate. The elec company has power of eminent domain, they can put their huge high-tension power lines whereever they want, and of course your little rural road isn't going to stay little. In fact Farmington has a lot of streets and roads that will need to be "improved" to allow this construction (and do you think they'll stop at three towers?).

    I listened to a presentation last year from a construction engineer who builds these things in places like ND, who urged people in Maine to fight them to the last breath, basically. He said, "You can't live next to these things". So get on the Internet, look at how other towns in Maine are fighting them or what life there is like now they're built. Look at Friends of the Highland Mountains and the other sites. Print out everything you can find, go to meetings, hand out information. At least go down fighting. Love, Sally

  4. That's a nice summary of the deal made with the devil in subsidizing clean energy "Neighbor" !

    Government subsidies - even (or especially?) the best intended ones - never escape the law of unintended consequences.

  5. This statement is very hard to believe
    He said the power generated could be potentially "producing more energy the town of Farmington uses."

    Umpi's 600 kilowatt turbine can't even power the campus.‘frustrating’-few-months/

    It's broken again!

  6. Well Well,,,,,Seems all that Ferociously POSTED Land is finally going to be opened up now,,,,
    This LANDOWNER would NEVER allow anyone to even walk on their POSTED LAND Before but NOW,,,"For A PRICE!!!
    Hmmm, what would the old folks call this??

  7. This plan is a moneymaker for the Baileys and the owners of the turbines. It does nothing to reduce my electric bill so why would I want to put up with the traffic delays, the ruining of the view and noise? As Bailey said at the town meeting when Farmington was doing the downtown sewer project "we don't live downtown so it does nothing for us". I feel the same way now.

  8. And it will continue to be posted because the wind companies won't let you anywhere near their projects. Gates and guard shacks. It's the new Maine.

  9. Google Earth View of Bailey Hill Wind Farm project

    The turbine towers are drawn using the Google Earth map viewer at 90 meters in height and are approximate to their respective location on the proposed wind farm site. The simple objective is to understand where the towers will be placed and further estimate the areas from where the towers will likely be seen from. Hannaford's, the High School, Voter Hill, Titcomb Mt., Rt.2, Clearwater, (?) and all other areas that appear to be within a possible viewing point of the public domain that each of the four turbine towers could occupy. The file can be seen by using the first link above to download the google earth Bailey Hill Wind Farm.kml file only if Google Earth is installed on the computer used for viewieng the 3D map file. After which the file can then be edited and corrected for errors in detail.

  10. Whats up? I can't beleive the number of prompts to download a program I got when I clicked on Smurf's link. Going to run a virus scan on my computer immediately!!

  11. Google Earth View of Bailey Hill Wind Farm project with four replica 90 meter wind turbines and towers

    The link provided can be used to download the Google Earth file that I have attempted to accurately depict of the actual site and appearance of the wind farm as best as I have been able to determine and scale. The turbines shown are 90 meters in height, but are not the same model as called for in the proposal using the Aeronautica 47-750. The file will only open in Google Earth when the download is complete, and is now temporarily stored at the file sharing site sendspace.

  12. This is nothing compared to what is going on in Carthage where the change in view from Mt. Blue State Park, Tumbledown, Webb Lake, Wilton, Dixfield, Carthage, etc will be highly impacted. Much bigger turbines and a dozen of them on a *mountain* and fairly close to homes.

  13. Sounds like a great project

  14. Something to think about. As most of you probably know, TransCanada now has 44 industrial wind turbines installed on Kibby and Kibby Range Mountains. As a condition of its Kibby Permit, TransCanada is required to submit an annual production report to the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission ( LURC ) giving actual electricity production figures on a month-to-month basis. From the report submitted for 2010, we learn that Kibby produced 152,526 MegaWatt Hours(MWH) of electricity while it had the installed capicity to prpduce 687,456 MWH of electricity, leading to a capicity (efficiency) factor of only 22.19% for the year !!!! It means that this $325+ million dollar industrial complex, heavily subsidized by the Maine and U.S. taxpayer,that has destroyed the natural environment and habitat of Kibby Mt. and Kibby Range, is producing only about a fifth of its capicity. What a scam !!!!!!!!!! As the song says "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN' . Land wind doesn't work