Friday, July 31, 2009
After taking a much needed hiatus from town politics, the Thorndike Planning board returned to the issue of a Wind Energy Conversion devices on July 22nd. Citizen's Energy, one of the firms formerly interested in the Mt. Harris Wind project stretching from Dixmont through Jackson and into Thorndike, has released Thorndike landowners from lease agreements. It is believed that Citizen's has also withdrawn from the other communities. Competitive Energy, the firm that erected turbines in Freedom, is still interested in the project as is Ra Power. Check links for additional information.
The board considered a proposal from Bud Tibbets to have two ordinances - one pertaining to residential wind turbines and another for industrial projects. In the plan there would be different set-backs based on the scale of the turbine. After much discussion the board agreed that determining a set-back distance should be secondary to developing regulations that provide of a turbines actual performance. These standards should provide reasonable protection to the citizens of Thorndike from sound, flicker, and potential hazards as well as mechanisms for mitigation, code enforcement and complaint resolution. In essence, a 50 dB nuisance at 3:00 a.m. is still troublesome regardless of where it is or how big it is. By focusing on performance standards, one ordinance can address any variety of WEC device.
Distance does matter when considering Blade/Ice Fling. The board decided to look into projected fling distances as a minimum set-back. The board will also look into confidence levels for braking systems.
As a final decision, the board determined that it would be best to handle violoations and code enforcement through the planning board and application process. More details will be provided as specifics are determined.
The meeting convened and will meet again on August 18th at 6:30. The public is welcome to attend.