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Wind power in Maine

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Wind power in Maine

Wind power in Maine is located in Maine
Record Hill
Record Hill
Beaver Ridge
Beaver Ridge
Bull Hill
Bull Hill
Spruce Mountain
Spruce Mountain
Wind farms in Maine
  Under construction

There are several wind power projects in the state of Maine, with a total of 521 MW in capacity. The largest single wind farm is Kibby Mountain with an installed capacity of 132 MW. Former Governor John Baldacci set a goal for the state of 2,000 megawatts of wind power installed by 2015 and 3,000 MW by 2020.[1]


As of the end of 2012, 431 megawatts of wind generation capacity had been installed in Maine.[2]

In 2013 wind power in Maine generated 7.4% of the state's total electricity.[3]

Operating wind farms

Mars Hill

Mars Hill wind farm.

Mars Hill (), in the town of Mars Hill, Maine, underwent an $85 million wind turbine project in the fall of 2006, installing more than 28 GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines along the top and northern section of the mountain, which overlooks Canada. The windmills are assembled in four parts. The towers, made of three support sections stacked on top of one another, and each weighing 20,000 pounds, are 262 ft (80 m) tall. The blades attached to the hub of the turbine are about 115 ft (35 m) long – giving a rotor span exceeding the wingspan of a Boeing 747 jet-liner. This is small, though, compared to the wind turbines available in 2015.

Kibby Mountain

Kibby Wind Power

The Kibby Mountain wind farm project—at a capacity of 132 MW, prospectively New England's largest[4]—comprises forty-four 3 MW wind turbines strung along the ridges of Kibby Mtn. () and nearby Kibby Range ().[5] is expected to generate about 357 million kilowatt-hours (41 MW·yr) of electricity annually. Half the turbines were put online in October 2009, and TransCanada completed the project in 2010.[6] The capital cost of the project is approximately US $320 million.[7] Work on clearing the site began by September 2008.[8]

Record Hill

Record Hill Wind is a 50.6 MW wind project in Roxbury, consisting of 22 turbines arrayed along a four mile long north-south ridgeline connecting Record Hill, Flathead Mountain (), and Partridge Peak. The electrical output of the project is estimated to be approximately 160 million kW·h (18 MW·yr) per year.[9]


Stetson Wind Farm began commercial operations in January 2009. The 57 megawatt wind farm consists of 38  GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines strung along the north-south ridge of Stetson Mountain (), and will generate approximately 167 million kilowatt-hours (kW·h) of electricity per year. Stetson Wind Farm surpassed the Mars Hill Wind Farm as the largest wind energy project in operation in New England.[10] In March 2009, the LURC approved First Wind's $60 million 25.5 MW Stetson II expansion. Seventeen turbines will be installed on nearby Jimmy () and Owl () mountains.[11] In September 2009, First Wind received $40.44 million from the federal government for the Stetson I project; it was one of twelve grants made to wind projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus program.[12]


In addition to the Stetson and Mars Hill projects, First Wind completed a 60 MW wind farm, with forty 1.5-MW turbines, on Rollins Mountain () and other hills in the Penobscot County towns of Lincoln, Burlington, Lee, and Winn.[13][14] The estimated cost is US$ 130 million.[15]

Fox Islands

The Fox Islands Wind Power Project () is a 4.5 MW wind project consisting of three GE 1.5 MW wind turbines, providing power for North Haven and Vinalhaven Island. The $14.5 million project is expected to produce 11,600 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Approved by a vote of 383–5 on July 29, 2008 by members of the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative, construction began on June 29, 2009, and the wind farm went online on November 17.[16][17][18] The project has significantly reduced rates on the island residents, who previously imported all their power from the mainland via a submarine power cable.[19][20] However, the noise generated by the turbines has caused considerable controversy on the island.[21]

Beaver Ridge

The 3 turbine Beaver Ridge Wind Project is located in Freedom. It is owned and operated by Patriot Renewables and was commissioned on November 1, 2008.[22]

Bull Hill

A 34.2 MW wind project on Bull Hill () and adjoining hills in Maine Township 16, MD, was built by First Wind and put online October 31, 2012. The $78.5 million project consists of 19 Vestas V100-1.8MW wind turbines. [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

Proposed wind projects

Electricity generation sources in Maine


First Wind proposed an installation on Black Mountain () in Rumford.

The Longfellow project would have 16 turbines that could produce 40 MW of electricity, enough to power about 17,000 homes in the Northeast. The power would be sold to the New England power grid. If the plan goes ahead, the wind turbines would be built on the west side of the mountain, away from the Black Mountain ski area.


A proposed 51 MW wind project in Oakfield () will consist of as many as 34 GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines.[29]

Deepwater Offshore wind

The DeepCwind Consortium's [30] mission is to establish the State of Maine as a national leader in deepwater offshore wind technology through a research initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and others. The University of Maine-led consortium includes universities, nonprofits, and utilities; a wide range of industry leaders in offshore design, offshore construction, and marine structures manufacturing; firms with expertise in wind project siting, environmental analysis, environmental law, composites materials to assist in corrosion-resistant material design and selection, and energy investment; and industry organizations to assist with education and tech transfer activities.

The Ocean Energy Institute, founded by gigawatt wind farm, with five 64 nmi² (220 km²) sections, each containing 200 5-MW turbines. That would generate sufficient power in winter to replace the state's consumption of home heating oil. According to Simmons, a proponent of peak oil, "If we don't do this, we're going to have to evacuate most of Maine."[32]

As proposed, the turbines would be built on floating platforms, anchored in waters 100–200 meters (330–660 ft) deep — something that has never been done in the United States. It will take several years to test the feasibility of such buoyed turbines. (The Hywind wind turbine became the world's first operating large-capacity (2.3 MW) floating wind turbine in the summer of 2009, operating in the North Sea off Norway.) Hart said, "three qualities — survivability, reliability, and performance — are what investment bankers need to see before they're going to put up the large amount of capital needed".[32]

Angus King, a former governor of Maine, was supportive of the idea. In 2008 he said "I see this as a huge economic development opportunity for Maine,... This thing could create 20,000 to 30,000 jobs." However, others have challenged the project's projected cost, which could reach $25 billion.[33][34]

In April 2012 Statoil, a Norwegian multinational oil and gas company, received state regulatory approval to build a large four-unit demonstration wind farm off the coast of Maine.[35] As of April 2013, the Hywind 2 4-tower, 12–15 MW wind farm was being developed by Statoil North America for placement 20 kilometres (12 mi) off the east coast of Maine in 140–158 metres (459–518 ft)-deep water of the Atlantic Ocean. Like the first Hywind installation off Norway, the turbine foundation will be a spar floater.[36][37] The State of Maine Public Utility Commission voted to approve the construction and fund the US$120 million project by adding approximately 75 cents/month to the average retail electricity consumer. Power could be flowing into the grid no earlier than 2016.[37]

As a result of new legislation (LD 1472) by the State of Maine, Statoil placed their planned Hywind Maine floating wind turbine development project on hold in July 2013. The legislation required the Maine Public Utilities Commission to undertake a second round of bidding with a different set of ground rules that led Statoil to suspend due to increased uncertainty and risk.[38]

Table of wind projects

Name Capacity
Number of Turbines Location
Status Developer Completed
Mars Hill 42 28 Aroostook Operating First Wind 2006
Spruce Mountain 20 10 Oxford Operating Patriot Renewables 2011
Kibby Mountain 132   44 Franklin Operating TransCanada 2010
Stetson I 57 38 Washington Operating First Wind 2009
Stetson II 25.5 17 Washington Operating First Wind 2010
Fox Islands 4.5 3 Knox Operating Fox Islands Electric Cooperative 2009
Longfellow 40 19 Oxford Proposed First Wind
Oakfield 51 34 Aroostook Proposed First Wind
Rollins 60 40 Penobscot Operating[39] First Wind 2011
Record Hill 50.6 22 Oxford Operating[40] Independence Wind 2012
Beaver Ridge      4.5 3 Waldo Operating Patriot Renewables 2008
Bull Hill    34.2 19 Hancock County Operating First Wind 2012
Total:  521.3

Canceled proposals

Redington and Black Nubble

Public opinion for a proposed wind farm on Redington Mountain

In 2005, Maine Mountain Power (MMP) filed an application with the Maine Land Use Regulation Committee (LURC) for a permit to develop a 30-turbine wind farm on Mount Redington () and neighboring Black Nubble ().[41] After years of contentious debate, the proposal was voted down by the LURC in 2007. The summit of Redington was seen as too ecologically sensitive — a sub-alpine fir habitat providing a home for two rare species, the bog lemming and Bicknell's thrush. Also, the development would have been visible for miles along the Appalachian Trail (AT).[42][43][44] A revised proposal, for 18 turbines only on Black Nubble, was put forward by MMP, supported by many environmental groups,[42][45] but still opposed by Maine Audubon.[46] The project was rejected by the LURC in 2008.[47]

Community debate

A statewide poll in Spring 2007 by the Pan Atlantic SMS Group showed that 85% of Maine people supported wind power development.[48]

A 2009 poll conducted by Portland-based Critical Insights shows that 90% of Maine people support the development of wind power as a source of electricity. Nearly nine in ten Mainers agree that "wind power can improve energy security and reduce Maine’s dependence on fossil fuels, and eight in ten agree that wind power will produce jobs and other forms of economic benefits".[48]

In a 2010 statewide telephone poll of 500 registered voters, 88 percent supported wind power in Maine. Calls to residents in seven rural "rim" counties, from Aroostook to Oxford, where most wind power projects are built or planned, showed 83 percent support. Survey results show that Maine residents "strongly support wind power development, chiefly because it cuts dependence on fossil fuels and creates jobs". The survey was done by Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group for the Maine Renewable Energy Association.[49]

However, some community opposition has arisen, expressed as litigation against mountain wind farms[50] and an ocean wind turbine proposal,[51] as civic activism,[52] and as development of municipal ordinances.[53]

Wind generation

Maine Wind Generation in 2011
Maine Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)
Year Total Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2009 299 15 29 25 28 22 19 14 18 21 31 38 30
2010 499 37 38 43 33 39 25 31 21 30 70 59 68
2011 711 63 76 71 64 41 37 40 39 41 81 85 73
2012 804 100 90 80 78 46 57 50 44 60 95 58 102


Maine used 11,411 GWh in 2011.[57]

See also


  1. ^ Adams, Glenn (March 18, 2009). "Wind farm site in western Maine gets key equipment".  
  2. ^ "AWEA 4th quarter 2011 Public Market Report" (PDF).  
  3. ^ "American wind power reaches major power generation milestones in 2013".  
  4. ^ "State approves Kibby wind farm project".  
  5. ^ "Kibby Wind Power". TransCanada Corporation. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  6. ^ "Kibby Mountain Wind Farm Begins Operations".  
  7. ^ "Kibby Wind Power Project Receives LURC Approval". TransCanada Corp. 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Work begins on Maine's largest wind farm".  
  9. ^ "Project Overview". Record Hill Wind. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  10. ^ "57-MW Stetson Wind Farm Starts Commercial Operations in Maine". January 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  11. ^ Sambides, Nick Jr. (March 4, 2009). "Commission OKs Stetson II wind farm".  
  12. ^ Sambides, Nick Jr. (September 2, 2009). "Maine wind farm gets stimulus funds".  
  13. ^ Sambides, Nick Jr. (2008-08-15). "Lincoln Announces Wind Farm Hearing". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  14. ^ Pater, Joe. "Rollins Wind - The Lincoln Maine Wind Project". Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  15. ^ Sambides, Nick Jr. (2010-10-17). "40-turbine wind project under way". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  16. ^ Tyler, David A. (July 2009). "Community celebrates Fox Islands wind power groundbreaking". The Working Waterfront. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  17. ^ Curtis, Abigail (June 30, 2009). "Vinalhaven turbines to provide enough electricity for 1,500". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  18. ^ "Maine Islands Get Power From Wind".  
  19. ^ "Fox Islands Electric Wind Power Project". Fox Islands Electric. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  20. ^ Conkling, Micah (June 2009). "Construction to start on Fox Islands wind project". The Working Waterfront. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  21. ^ Zeller, Tom Jr. (October 5, 2010). "For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy".  
  22. ^
  23. ^ Miller, Kevin (5 October 2011). "LURC approves 19-turbine wind farm in Hancock County". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  24. ^ "First Wind - Blue Sky East LLC/Bull Hill Development Permit for Wind Energy". Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). 3 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  25. ^ "EastbrookWind.Org". 2009-04-09. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  26. ^ "WABI-TV: Bull Hill Wind Farm Project Completed". 14 November 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  27. ^ "First Wind's Bull Hill Wind page". 14 November 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  28. ^ "First Wind press release on Bull Hill". 14 November 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Sambides, Nick Jr. (2009-04-09). "Wind power developer seeks to build in Oakfield". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Ocean Energy Institute". 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  32. ^ a b Gies, Erica (November 26, 2008). "Plans for the world's biggest wind farm".  
  33. ^ J Dwight (December 14, 2008). "The biggest con job in the history of man".  
  34. ^ Fehrenbacher, Katie (December 1, 2008). "Gulf of Maine Wind Proposal Could Cost $25B". Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  35. ^ Hampton, Stuart (30 April 2012). "Statoil to demonstrate floating offshore wind turbines in the US". Bizmology (Hoovers). Retrieved 2012-05-20. Statoil has secured the support of government officials in Maine to develop a demonstration wind park in the US with four full-scale offshore wind turbines. 
  36. ^ "Hywind 2 Demonstration (Maine)". Offshore Wind Farms Project Database. 4C Offshore. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  37. ^ a b "'"Pioneering Maine wind project passes 'biggest hurdle. Portland Press Herald. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  38. ^ "USA: Statoil Freezes Hywind Maine Project". 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  39. ^ EIA Electric Power Monthly, Oct 2011 p.13
  40. ^ EIA Electric Power Monthly, February 2012 p.16
  41. ^ "Get The Facts". Maine Mountain Power. 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  42. ^ a b Crowell, Alan (2007-07-11). "Black Nubble wind project supporters line up".  
  43. ^ "Maine Mountain Power Redington Wind Farm Application for Development". Maine LURC. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  44. ^ "Redington wind farm a step toward Maine's energy future".  
  45. ^ "Support Builds for Black Nubble Wind Farm". Natural Resources Council of Maine. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  46. ^ "Will you help Maine Audubon fight an uphill battle for wildlife-friendly wind power in Maine?". Maine Audubon. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  47. ^ "Wind project rulings issued: Panel OKs Kibby, rejects Black Nubble".  
  48. ^ a b "Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Wind Power". NRCM. November 13, 2009. 
  49. ^ Tux Turkel (June 29, 2010). "Mainers full of gusto for wind power, survey finds". Portland Press Herald. 
  50. ^ Bangor News: Group renews legal challenge to Rollins Mountain Wind
  51. ^ Petition against offshore wind test areas
  52. ^ Friends of Ragged Mountain
  53. ^ Dixmont Wind Ordinance
  54. ^  
  55. ^  
  56. ^  
  57. ^  

External links

  • "Projects". First Wind. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
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