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UPC Wind's Stetson Wind Project Approved by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission

UPC Wind, a leading North American wind power company, today announced that it has received final approval from the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) on its 57 megawatt (MW) Stetson Wind Project in Washington County, Maine. The unanimous approval of the final project plans was given during a Commission Meeting held in Augusta, and follows LURC's November 2007 vote in favor of UPC Wind's rezoning petition.

"We are pleased that the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission has recognized the importance of developing alternative energy sources such as the Stetson Wind Project, which is poised to become the region's biggest source of wind energy," said Paul Gaynor, President and CEO of UPC Wind. "In addition, the project will also provide numerous economic benefits to the region including revenue and employment opportunities as we move forward with construction activities in the coming months."

During the review process by LURC, UPC Wind highlighted a number of positive factors for the approved project site on Stetson Mountain including that 1) the ridge has an excellent wind resource; 2) there is no residential property currently closer than 2,500 feet; 3) there will be minimal environmental impacts on the ridge as there are existing roads in place previously used for logging that can be utilized during construction with only minor enhancements; and 4) roughly one-third of the needed transmission lines will be in the same right-of-way (ROW) as existing electric lines.

"We appreciate LURC's thoughtful review of this project, and we are grateful for the support we have received throughout this process from many leading organizations, state officials and members of the community," said Matt Kearns, UPC Wind's Project Manager. "Building on this major milestone, UPC Wind will now proceed with construction activities within the LURC permitted area on Stetson Mountain."

The Stetson Wind Project has received support from leading environmental groups such as Maine Audubon, Natural Resource Council, Appalachian Mountain Club and Conservation Law Foundation. In addition, the project has also garnered regional endorsements from local officials and groups including the Washington County Commissioners and the Sunrise County Economic Council. Recently, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) also approved tax increment financing (TIF) for the project, a first for an unorganized territory in Maine.

Upon completion, the Stetson Wind Project will:
  • Consist of the construction and operation of 38 state-of-the-art GE 1.5 MW wind turbines. With about 5,000 in service in the U.S. today, the GE 1.5 turbine is considered one of the most reliable in the wind industry.
  • Create hundreds of employment opportunities during the design, engineering and construction of the facility, with the potential for local employment on road, foundation and electrical line construction.
  • Produce approximately 150 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually - enough to power about 27,500 homes per year. Generating this amount of electricity using oil and gas would emit 107,500 metric tons of pollutants; the Stetson Wind Project will emit no pollutants.
In addition to increasing domestic energy production and increasing energy security, wind power is considered cost competitive with conventional sources of electricity, such as oil or gas. Unlike traditional polluting sources of energy, wind has no fuel cost, therefore serving as a natural hedge against volatile fuel prices, which in most markets in the US constitutes a significant portion of monthly electricity bills. Wind power does not emit greenhouse gases or other damaging pollutants.

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