$398 million potential wind farm project proposed for Somerset and Piscataquis counties

By Morgan Rogers - June 18th, 2013 

Blue Sky West proposed a $398 million, 62-turbine wind energy facility project in Somerset and Piscataquis counties that is scheduled for construction in 2014 upon approval. Blue Sky West is a Boston based wind developer and subsidiary of First Wind Inc., who is operating five wind farms in Maine.

An application for the wind farm project was filed May 10, 2013, and awaits approval from Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection. 

A majority of the community in both the affected towns of Bingham and Moscow support the project, according to Bingham First Selectman Steve Steward and Moscow First Selectman Donald Beane.

“I think it would help with our tax base, as well as in Bingham, and provide some jobs during construction,” said Beane.  

Residents in Bingham approved the formation of a tax-increment financing district in 2011, but Somerset County commissioners rejected a similar agreement for the section of the project in Mayfield Plantation. 

Bingham will receive $8,000 per a year for every tower built in the town, amounting to an estimated $106,000 over a 20-year period, due to a community benefits agreement with First Wind, said Steward. 

Moscow will receive roughly $20,000 over the next twenty years with a similar agreement, said Beane. 

The project proposes eleven turbines for Bingham, 29 in Mayfield and 22 in Kingsbury, which will be built along state Route 16 on the ridges and hills.  The turban towers will generate up to 191-megawatt wind power and will be approximately 512 feet in height.

Included in the project, are five permanent and five temporary meteorological towers, an operations and maintenance building in Mayfield Township, and upgrades to new and existing roads in order to provide access to turbines and crane paths, according to the application.

If the application is approved the company aims to begin construction in 2014 and finish by 2015, said John Lamontagne, spokesman for First Wind.