Wind power in Maine
There are a number of wind power projects in the state of Maine, totalling more than 600 MW in capacity. The largest single wind farm is the Oakfield with an installed capacity of 148 MW. Former Governor John Baldacci set a goal for the state of 2,000 megawatts of wind power installed by 2015 and 3,000 MW by 2020.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Operating wind farms
- 3 Offshore Wind Energy
- 4 Proposed wind projects
- 5 Canceled proposals
- 6 Community debate
- 7 Wind generation
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
As of the end of 2012, 431 megawatts of wind generation capacity had been installed in Maine.
In 2013 wind power in Maine generated 7.4% of the state's total electricity.
Operating wind farms
Mars Hill ( ), in the town of Mars Hill, Maine, underwent an $85 million wind turbine project in the fall of 2006, installing more than 28 GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines along the top and northern section of the mountain, which overlooks Canada. The windmills are assembled in four parts. The towers, made of three support sections stacked on top of one another, and each weighing 20,000 pounds, are 262 ft (80 m) tall. The blades attached to the hub of the turbine are about 115 ft (35 m) long – giving a rotor span exceeding the wingspan of a Boeing 747 jet-liner. This is small, though, compared to the wind turbines available in 2017.
The Kibby Mountain wind farm project—at a capacity of 132 MW, prospectively New England's largest—comprises forty-four 3 MW wind turbines strung along the ridges of Kibby Mtn. ( ) and nearby Kibby Range ( ). is expected to generate about 357 million kilowatt-hours (41 MW·yr) of electricity annually. Half the turbines were put online in October 2009, and TransCanada completed the project in 2010. The capital cost of the project is approximately US $320 million. Work on clearing the site began by September 2008.
Record Hill Wind is a 50.6 MW wind project in Roxbury, consisting of 22 turbines arrayed along a four mile long north-south ridgeline connecting Record Hill, Flathead Mountain ( ), and Partridge Peak. The electrical output of the project is estimated to be approximately 160 million kW·h (18 MW·yr) per year.
Stetson Wind Farm began commercial operations in January 2009. The 57 megawatt wind farm consists of 38 GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines strung along the north-south ridge of Stetson Mountain ( ), and will generate approximately 167 million kilowatt-hours (kW·h) of electricity per year. Stetson Wind Farm surpassed the Mars Hill Wind Farm as the largest wind energy project in operation in New England. In March 2009, the LURC approved First Wind's $60 million 25.5 MW Stetson II expansion. Seventeen turbines will be installed on nearby Jimmy ( ) and Owl ( ) mountains. In September 2009, First Wind received $40.44 million from the federal government for the Stetson I project; it was one of twelve grants made to wind projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus program.
In addition to the Stetson and Mars Hill projects, First Wind completed a 60 MW wind farm, with forty 1.5-MW turbines, on Rollins Mountain ( ) and other hills in the Penobscot County towns of Lincoln, Burlington, Lee, and Winn. The estimated cost is US$130 million.
The Fox Islands Wind Power Project (North Haven and Vinalhaven Island. The $14.5 million project is expected to produce 11,600 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Approved by a vote of 383–5 on July 29, 2008 by members of the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative, construction began on June 29, 2009, and the wind farm went online on November 17. The project has significantly reduced rates on the island residents, who previously imported all their power from the mainland via a submarine power cable. However, the noise generated by the turbines has caused considerable controversy on the island.) is a 4.5 MW wind project consisting of three GE 1.5 MW wind turbines, providing power for
The 3 turbine Beaver Ridge Wind Project is located in Freedom. It is owned and operated by Patriot Renewables and was commissioned on November 1, 2008.
A 34.2 MW wind project on Bull Hill (Township 16, MD, was built by First Wind and put online October 31, 2012. The $78.5 million project consists of 19 Vestas V100-1.8MW wind turbines.      ) and adjoining hills in Maine
Offshore Wind Energy
Offshore wind energy represents Maine's largest untapped natural energy resource, rated at 156 GW. The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center has led efforts to develop this resource with its patented floating wind turbine technology, VolturnUS.
In 2008, as a result of the Maine Ocean Energy Task Force, Maine established a renewable ocean energy goal, including the installation of 5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
North America’s first offshore wind turbine (UMaine's VolturnUS) to produce power was ceremonially lowered into the Penobscot River in Maine in 2013. The VolturnUS was towed to Castine, Maine, where is was deployed for 18 months. Following a successful deployment, Maine Aqua Ventus 1, GP, LLC, is leading a demonstration project off of Monhegan Island, ME, in the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site called New England Aqua Ventus I. New England Aqua Ventus I is a 12 MW demonstration project utilizing UMaine's VolturnUS technology with deployment commercial operations planned for 2019. Project participants include Emera, Inc., Cianbro Corporation, DCNS, and the University of Maine.
Proposed wind projects
The Longfellow project would have 16 turbines that could produce 40 MW of electricity, enough to power about 17,000 homes in the Northeast. The power would be sold to the New England power grid. If the plan goes ahead, the wind turbines would be built on the west side of the mountain, away from the Black Mountain ski area. The developer placed the project on hold due to the strength of wind gusts in the area.
Deepwater Offshore wind
Led by the University of Maine, the DeepCwind Consortium's  mission is to establish the State of Maine as a national leader in deepwater offshore wind technology through a research initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and others. The University of Maine-led consortium includes universities, nonprofits, and utilities; a wide range of industry leaders in offshore design, offshore construction, and marine structures manufacturing; firms with expertise in wind project siting, environmental analysis, environmental law, composites materials to assist in corrosion-resistant material design and selection, and energy investment; and industry organizations to assist with education and tech transfer activities.
The Ocean Energy Institute, founded by Matthew Simmons, is advocating developing wind power in the Gulf of Maine. Simmons and his partner, physicist George Hart, propose an enormous, 5-gigawatt wind farm, with five 64 nmi² (220 km²) sections, each containing 200 5-MW turbines. That would generate sufficient power in winter to replace the state's consumption of home heating oil. According to Simmons, a proponent of peak oil, "If we don't do this, we're going to have to evacuate most of Maine."
As proposed, the turbines would be built on floating platforms, anchored in waters 100–200 meters (330–660 ft) deep — something that has never been done in the United States. It will take several years to test the feasibility of such buoyed turbines. (The Hywind wind turbine became the world's first operating large-capacity (2.3 MW) floating wind turbine in the summer of 2009, operating in the North Sea off Norway.) Hart said, "three qualities — survivability, reliability, and performance — are what investment bankers need to see before they're going to put up the large amount of capital needed".
Angus King, a former governor of Maine, was supportive of the idea. In 2008 he said "I see this as a huge economic development opportunity for Maine,... This thing could create 20,000 to 30,000 jobs." However, others have challenged the project's projected cost, which could reach $25 billion.
In April 2012 Statoil, a Norwegian multinational oil and gas company, received state regulatory approval to build a large four-unit demonstration wind farm off the coast of Maine. As of April 2013[update], the Hywind 2 4-tower, 12–15 MW wind farm was being developed by Statoil North America for placement 20 kilometres (12 mi) off the east coast of Maine in 140–158 metres (459–518 ft)-deep water of the Atlantic Ocean. Like the first Hywind installation off Norway, the turbine foundation will be a spar floater. The State of Maine Public Utility Commission voted to approve the construction and fund the US$120 million project by adding approximately 75 cents/month to the average retail electricity consumer. Power could be flowing into the grid no earlier than 2016.
As a result of new legislation (LD 1472) by the State of Maine, Statoil placed their planned Hywind Maine floating wind turbine development project on hold in July 2013. The legislation required the Maine Public Utilities Commission to undertake a second round of bidding with a different set of ground rules that led Statoil to suspend due to increased uncertainty and risk.
|Number of Turbines||Location
|Mars Hill||42||28||Aroostook||First Wind||2006|
|Spruce Mountain||20||10||Oxford||Patriot Renewables||2011|
|Stetson I||57||38||Washington||First Wind||2009|
|Stetson II||25.5||17||Washington||First Wind||2010|
|Fox Islands||4.5||3||Knox||Fox Islands Electric Cooperative||2009|
|Record Hill||50.6||22||Oxford||Independence Wind||2012|
|Beaver Ridge||4.5||3||Waldo||Patriot Renewables||2008|
|Bull Hill||34.2||19||Hancock County||First Wind||2012|
|Blue Sky East||51||Hancock County||2016|
|New England Aqua Ventus I||12||2||Lincoln County||Maine Aqua Ventus||2019 (Planned)|
Redington and Black Nubble
In 2005, Maine Mountain Power (MMP) filed an application with the Maine Land Use Regulation Committee (LURC) for a permit to develop a 30-turbine wind farm on Mount Redington ( ) and neighboring Black Nubble ( ). After years of contentious debate, the proposal was voted down by the LURC in 2007. The summit of Redington was seen as too ecologically sensitive — a sub-alpine fir habitat providing a home for two rare species, the bog lemming and Bicknell's thrush. Also, the development would have been visible for miles along the Appalachian Trail (AT). A revised proposal, for 18 turbines only on Black Nubble, was put forward by MMP, supported by many environmental groups, but still opposed by Maine Audubon. The project was rejected by the LURC in 2008.
A statewide poll in Spring 2007 by the Pan Atlantic SMS Group showed that 85% of Maine people supported wind power development.
A 2009 poll conducted by Portland-based Critical Insights shows that 90% of Maine people support the development of wind power as a source of electricity. Nearly nine in ten Mainers agree that "wind power can improve energy security and reduce Maine’s dependence on fossil fuels, and eight in ten agree that wind power will produce jobs and other forms of economic benefits".
In a 2010 statewide telephone poll of 500 registered voters, 88 percent supported wind power in Maine. Calls to residents in seven rural "rim" counties, from Aroostook to Oxford, where most wind power projects are built or planned, showed 83 percent support. Survey results show that Maine residents "strongly support wind power development, chiefly because it cuts dependence on fossil fuels and creates jobs". The survey was done by Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group for the Maine Renewable Energy Association.
However, some community opposition has arisen, expressed as litigation against mountain wind farms and an ocean wind turbine proposal, as civic activism, and as development of municipal ordinances.
|Maine Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)|
Maine used 11,411 GWh in 2011.
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Statoil has secured the support of government officials in Maine to develop a demonstration wind park in the US with four full-scale offshore wind turbines.
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- Petition against offshore wind test areas
- Friends of Ragged Mountain
- Dixmont Wind Ordinance
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wind power in Maine.|
- "Projects". First Wind. Retrieved 2008-09-04.