Maine developer scales back wind proposal

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Maine's largest wind developer has scaled back a proposed wind farm on Bowers Mountain in the eastern part of the state in an effort to appease regulators and lessen environmental impacts.

Facing criticism from the Maine Department of Energy, developer First Wind has pared the number of wind turbines at the site from 27 to 16. But the company also plans to erect turbines that have 30 percent more generation capacity than originally planned. Total annual capacity for the project is expected to be 157 million kilowatt hours, down from an original projection of about 200 million kilowatt hours.

The proposed project is sited on rural land. Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission rejected the initial plan back in April over wildlife concerns, among others. In response, the adjusted wind farm application places turbines farther from nearby lakes and includes a new "watershed" fund to be used to promote local environmental initiatives and help offset the ecological impact of the project, according to the Bangor Daily News.

"This is a $100 million project that would be located in rural Maine and has the potential to put nearly 100 Maine companies and hundreds of Mainers to work during the construction phase, with several permanent positions for the life of the project," said Matt Kearns, First Wind's Vice President of Northeast Business Development, in a statement.

The Maine Department of Environmental Projection has accepted the new application, which is now under review. The project will pay approximately $6 million in taxes over its projected 20-year lifespan.

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