Atlantic Wind Advances Fletcher Mountain Wind Project in Somerset County

By Fishell, Darren | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), December 29, 2014 | Go to article overview

Atlantic Wind Advances Fletcher Mountain Wind Project in Somerset County


Fishell, Darren, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


PORTLAND, Maine -- A sister company of Central Maine Power Co. is moving ahead with a wind power project that may include as many as 50 turbines near Fletcher Mountain in Somerset County.

Atlantic Wind, an indirect subsidiary of the Spanish utility Iberdrola S.A., which is also the indirect parent of CMP, filed a request with state utilities regulators earlier this month to begin planning a connection from the 100 megawatt wind farm to the power grid.

Paul Copleman, a spokesman for Atlantic Wind owner Iberdrola Renewables, said the timeline for the project depends on many variables, but the company could apply for a permit from the state's Department of Environmental Protection as early as summer 2015.

"The timeline is a bit up in the air, but at the same time we're certainly actively developing the project and continuing to evaluate a lot of the variables," Copleman said.

Preliminary work includes studying wind patterns, as well as environmental and technical aspects of the project, which would include wind turbines in Concord and Lexington townships. The company has not yet proposed a specific footprint, which will come from continued study of the site, but he said the final proposal will likely call for closer to 30 turbines.

The request filed with the PUC states the project would have 50, which Copleman said is a high estimate.

Atlantic Wind is also moving ahead on studying other sites for wind farms in Maine, Copleman said. In July, the company leased more than 7,200 acres in Washington County, where it has erected some test turbines, but Copleman said the Somerset County project is closest to reality.

"We're constantly evaluating other areas in the state and around the country that are in various stages of development," Copleman said. "But [the Fletcher Wind] development effort is the one that's the furthest along."

At this stage, Atlantic Wind is seeking approval from regulators for CMP to negotiate a right-of-way and certain engineering work to prepare for connecting transmission lines to the project at an estimated cost of $75,000.

If approved, Atlantic Wind would pre-pay that amount to CMP.

The companies need regulatory approval for the transaction as a 2000 change in state law required power companies, such as CMP and Bangor Hydro Electric Co. (now Emera Maine), to divest of all power generation. …

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