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Stiff opposition to 90 MW project in Maine

Maine Mountain Power's proposal to bring 90 MW of wind power to two of Maine's tallest mountains ran into stiff opposition during three public hearings last month as potential problems were underscored by several environmental groups in meetings at the nearby Sugarloaf ski area. Opponents insist the project will force roads and transmission lines to converge with threatened habitat. The state's Land Use Regulation Commission now has to decide whether to rezone 1000 acres on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain to make way for the project. One group proposed a solution that would limit the development to only one mountain, which would result in a loss of 36 MW overall. "We told them thanks but it's not an option," says Harley Lee of Endless Energy, one of Maine Mountain Power's two partner companies. "Like with any project, you have opponents. But a survey we did in the spring shows support is nine to one in favour of the project. The problem is that windy sites around here are generally in scenic areas and the opposition has a loud voice." Maine still has no utility-scale projects and all of New England maintains only 10 MW of wind power online. "We've worked a long time on this and we think we put together a good application," Lee says. "Now it's up to the regulators and we should have an answer by fall."

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