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Wind wire: Record Hill opposition

Even a wind plant developed by a former state governor is not immune from the not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

A community group appealing the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's approval of Record Hill Wind, a 51 MW development in the west-central part of the state, is citing potential for excessive noise from the project's proposed 22 Siemens wind turbines. "There's an awful lot of misinformation about the sound effects of wind projects," says Rob Gardiner, co-founder of start-up developer Independence Wind. "They've convinced themselves that it's going to keep them up at night with noise. So they're opposed based on wrong information." Gardiner and his business partner, former Maine governor Angus King, decided to enter the wind business three years ago after seeing others experience difficulty getting projects approved. "We thought we would be able to navigate that process more successfully," Gardiner says. The first-time developers have contracted experienced consultants to strengthen their team as they begin building roads and tackling other pre-construction work. They are close to finalising a power purchase agreement, expect to take delivery of turbines in July and plan to be finished by early fall 2010. The appeal process should be resolved within a few months. "We really do have a situation here where opponents have succeeded in putting sand in the gears and slowing down the process," Gardiner says. "But our project is absolutely solid in terms of its ability to withstand that kind of scrutiny.

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