COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
The special meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners was brought to order by Commissioner Chair Blasi at 8:30 am on Friday, August 31st, 2018 in the office of Millard Billings, UT Supervisor, located in Ellsworth, ME. In addition to Commissioner Blasi & Millard Billings, Commissioner Clark; Scott Adkins, County Admin.; Matt Kearns, Chief Development Officer / Longroad Energy; Duane Jordan, Property Owner involved in the Wind Project were in attendance. Later, around 9:10, Jennifer Osborn, Ellsworth American reporter, arrived to the meeting.
Weaver Wind / Longroad Energy
The Windfarm project is currently a 22 turbine wind farm located in the towns of Eastbrook & Osborn. At the request of Longroad’s representative, Matt Kearns, a meeting was scheduled during the timeframe of visiting each of the above Selectboards for project updates. This project was originally planned as 25 turbines, but reduced to 22 in the latest permit application.
After introductions, Mr. Kearns gave a brief summary of how the Weaver Wind Project became revitalized; especially, under the Longroad Energy umbrella. Why was the project put on hold? Matt explained that the moratorium on wind farms by Governor LePage was a major factor. Also, Dept. Inland Fisheries & Wildlife came out with updated guidelines in regards to migratory bird species. These issues, along with turmoil at Sun Edison, original project owner, brought about fears of the permit being denied. Longroad Energy decided to purchase Weaver Wind as Sun Edison was going through bankruptcy. A clearer view from the State of Maine / Governor’s Office was obtained and the project had new life.
Mr. Kearns handed out an overview pamphlet on Longroad Energy. He quickly reviewed the creation of Longroad Energy and its key individuals running the company. In the document, a map of the key projects that Longroad has been involved in and the companies who are helping to run operationally & financially.
Commissioners Blasi & Clark inquired as to how the County fits into this project. The towers are being placed in Eastbrook & Osborn and not in the UT. However, as Millard pointed out, the line to connect the tower project to the substation would have to run through the UT. As a result of this, there is an opportunity for the Commissioners to discuss a possible Community Benefit agreement with Longroad.
Mr. Kearns emphasized that it is Longroad Energy’s wish to make this as harmonious a project as possible which means communicating with all parties involved no matter how big or small the part in the project.
Mr. Jordan made a point to state that Hancock County should be proud of the opportunities being created for green energy. This project, in conjunction with current wind towers and future solar array, could provide a chance for Hancock County to possibly do something on a commercial or residential scale.
COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING – Page 2
Weaver Wind / Longroad Energy
The one concern, developed during conversation, is the capacity of the substation, should this project and the solar array both take place. However, Mr. Jordan addressed it by stating that he knew both projects in total might create the issue and a solution is being looked at as things develop.
Commissioner Blasi inquired as to how we proceed from here and with attention placed on future Community Benefit talks with the Commissioners. Millard Billings, UT Supervisor, provided a copy of the Community Benefit receivers based on the old permit application. He also inquired about the red blinking lights at the top of each wind tower and wanted to know if radar activated lights would be used in replacement. Mr. Kearns responded that this was already a known concern and the “radar activated” version would be used per the permit parameters.
On that listing was the Lower Lead Mountain Pond Dam and a short conversation regarding this item developed. Mr. Jordan pointed out that this project was in the UT. From the original permit, it appears that the Ponds’ association was looking for funds to match grant monies available from the State of Maine that would help them to fix the dam effectively.
Matt Kearns stated that today is just the opening up of talks. As they finalize the details on the permit application, they would certainly like to have additional conversations with the County Commissioners about projects and / or Community Benefit funds.
Meeting adjourned around 10:15.
Scott A. Adkins, County Administrator
Hancock County Commissioners