Peninsula Power discussed at its last meeting a revised approach to the wind power projects in the area. Considering the proximity of neighbors on the potential site on Caterpillar Hill and the recent feedback from residents near the Vinalhaven project, it seems necessary to downsize considerably.
We are still interested in studying the Caterpillar Hill site for wind power, but we may limit our goals to serving immediate neighbors and/or Sedgwick town energy needs, and to a much lesser extent the community at large. We will be looking into alternative wind turbines of a size more suitable and compatible to a neighborhood situation. We are not interested in creating as many problems as we might solve. We are a group that welcomes all community feedback and participation and we are sensitive to all voices. We are still interested in continuing our feasibility study with revised expectations and believe there is still a good chance to make something work. Our members are volunteers and have no agenda other than improving our community. If the feasibility study cannot satisfy our community that there is appropriate benefit to any potential project then there will not be a project.
The idea of smaller-scale projects may be something that is more acceptable to more people and may be something that could be reproduced in several locations throughout the area. The use of net metering on smaller-scale turbines has the potential to double the value of those smaller projects. Net metering allows the users of the power to keep the retail value of their electrical production, including the delivery of that power. Without net metering a power producer can only benefit from the value of the power itself and not the delivery and distribution, which is about one half of our utility bill.
This is all a matter of discussion to be studied by the feasibility study and/or down the road after step one has been carried out. First we need to measure the wind with the meteorological tower loan from the University of Maine. That will take a year, during which time we can analyze other parameters of the project such as environmental issues, financial viability, and identifying our entity and service area issues.
It would be good to utilize wind to create clean, affordable power and replace carbon-based fuels to the extent possible. We hope you agree. Just looking into this project is a huge effort and we need your support in helping us solve just a few of the energy issues facing all of us. Our state is 80 to 90-percent dependent on out-of-state energy sources. We have very little choice in energy matters today; we have to take whatever type and price of energy that is offered to us. Maybe after a feasibility study we will have at least one other choice. Please help us make that choice possible.
For information on wind power in the area, the link noted is to a WERU radio broadcast discussion by neighbors of the Vinalhaven project who are concerned with sound levels of their commercially sized project: http://archives.weru.org/voices/weekend-voices-121909.
Paul Trowbridge is the chairman of the Peninsula Power group. He can be reached at 359-5562 or email@example.com.
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