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Plans for first 3 MW units in Maine

The first 3 MW turbines in the United States may be installed in Maine by local company Endless Energy for a project first conceived ten years ago. The company's Harley Lee plans to file formal applications with Maine's state agencies this spring for a 90 MW project utilising 30 turbines on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain. He has yet to choose a supplier. Ten years ago Lee planned to use 30 Vestas 500 kW turbines for a 15 MW wind station. Since then the installed capacity of the project has steadily grown with technology advances. "It's been a moving target," laughs Lee, who has had to buy additional acreage to accommodate the growing size of the turbines. He says he does not expect to encounter serious opposition because of the size of a 3 MW machine. The turbines, however, will be visible from the world-famous Appalachian Trail, a rugged hiking trail running along the mountain range from Georgia to Maine's Katahdin Mountain. The trail has a large group of advocates, many of whom are strongly opposed to the wind farm, which they claim will ruin the "wilderness" feeling of the trail in that region. On the other hand, many locals seem to support the project and wildlife advocacy group, Maine Audubon, has spoken favourably about Lee's willingness to work with wildlife biologists and other community members to ensure its environmental quality.

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