Mars Hill Wind Farm Gets Conditional Approval

After hitting some turbulence early on, Maine’s first utility scale wind farm development is again moving ahead. Approval from the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) will allow Evergreen Wind Power to move forward with its plans for the Mars Hill wind farm.

Bangor, Maine – September 22, 2004 [] In January, Evergreen proposed a 50 MW wind farm in Mars Hill and requested a state permit for the development from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The company co-applied for the permit with the town of Mars Hill, and proposed a 33-turbine wind farm along the ridge of Mars Hill Mountain and adjacent farmlands. Representatives for the Maine Audubon Society filed an appeal for the permit, however, and asked BEP to require that Evergreen conduct studies of the area to determine avian populations and the effect a wind farm might have on birds in the area. The DEP had not required such studies after it determined that the project would not negatively affect avian populations and that the project met standards set by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Evergreen Wind Power has always been careful to avoid sites that are ecologically sensitive,” said Dave Cowan, Vice President of Environmental Affairs for the company. “Around the world, studies show that the type of wind turbine we have planned for Mars Hill Mountain has minimal adverse effects on bird populations or other wildlife.” Cowan noted that Evergreen Wind Power is committed to continuing to work with diversified interests, such as Maine Audubon Society, in the permitting process of wind power development in Maine. According to reports in the Bangor Daily News, the BEP added new requirements to clarify the permitting agreement. When the company receives the financing for the development in Mars hill they must inform the DEP, and wildlife surveys must begin within 30 days of that financing. Moving forward with the project seems to be in everyone’s best interest. Aroostook County is the largest and northernmost county in the state. Its economy relies on the agriculture in the area, particularly potatoes, and job diversity is important to the county’s economic health. “This is a sixty-million dollar project for Aroostook County,” said Ray Mersereau, who is the town manager of Mars Hill. “We’re looking forward to the construction jobs, the post construction jobs, the tax revenue and the money landowners would make from leasing land for turbines for an environmentally sound, technologically advanced project.”


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