First Wind, the Boston-based company that operates five wind farms in Maine, has proposed to build a wind farm north of Skowhegan. If approved, it would be New England’s largest. The application was submitted on May 10th to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to build a 62-turbine wind farm in Somerset and Piscataquis counties, according to David Fowler, First Wind’s director of development for New England. This proposed farm, called the Bingham Wind Project, would have the generating capacity of 186 megawatts and have the ability to power 75,000 homes. “We expect this farm to produce more than half a million [megawatt-hours] a year,” Fowler said. The area for this projected has been studied by First Wind for nearly four years; it would be different than past projects because it would not be built on high ridgetops but on “small hills with a large elevated plateau”, said Fowler.
Due to massive technology advancement over the last five years, Bingham’s turbines would be 90 meters tall and, depending on the equipment the company chooses, have a rotator diameter of 112 or 113 meters. This new technology will then double the output of the Bingham Wind Farm in comparison to older projects. The Bingham Wind Project’s turbines would be built in three communities: Bingham (11 turbines), Mayfield Township (29 turbines) and Kingsbury Plantation (22 turbines), according to First Wind’s application. The DEP will now review the project, and Fowler states that, “we’ve got incredible support from the communities themselves.” In its application, First Wind lists benefits of the project including, if approved, it would create 350 full-time construction jobs and that an estimated $145 million of the project’s total cost would be spent in Maine. In addition, the company would give $30,000 a year to the Somerset Economic Development Corp. to use for economic development projects in predetermined areas around the project in Somerset County. If approved, First Wind will begin the construction of the Bingham project in 2014.
Source: 62-turbine wind farm, largest in New England, proposed for Maine, by Whit Richardson, May 29, 2013