Forsake loan guarantee to Independence Wind
To the Editor:
I just received information pertaining to a request for a loan guarantee for the developers undertaking a wind project in Roxbury.
I live close to Roxbury and have many friends and acquaintances there. May I point out a couple observations. First, the access roads to mountaintop turbines are extremely costly compared to low land development. Compared to sites across the nation, mountaintop sites are far more expensive and our mountains add even further costs as they are predominantly ledge and the overburden soil tends to collect and perch water.
Because of steepness and redirection of surface water, the velocities of run-off frequently create erosion requiring almost constant maintenance. The mountains in the area support view sheds which have spurred homestead development. The richer folks love their mountainside homes for the views and the enticement of recreation. The poorer Maine folks love the remoteness and the rugged challenge of living beyond expensive town services. What you may end up guaranteeing is the development of subdivision roads if the wind projects fail to pan out. As an assistant in developing sites for mountainside homesteads, the aspect of the 30 percent construction grant to wind developers by ITC gives them quite an advantage in staking out home sites beyond the wind mills. Unintended consequences, but a real possibility. I would recommend forsaking this loan guarantee to Independence Wind as a better bang for the buck can be achieved with other projects elsewhere and it may turn out to be unfair to mountainside developers who can't get federal subsidies.
By the way, on the subject of reducing oil dependency, the transitional fuel of choice here in Maine is wood, which is of abundant quantity. Check out the recent biomass and bio-boilers being installed here, at schools, at hospitals, at businesses and homes.
Now that's a one-to-one replacement of oil. Maine is not the right place for wind, too expensive and we have a better fuel source to replace oil.