Maine DEP works on wind power rules on siting, flicker factor

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working on a pre-rulemaking draft of regulations that would help govern wind power development in the state.

The draft package, which has been posted on the state DEP website, will address certain standards in the Wind Energy Act which are not otherwise addressed in current rules.

The early draft covers issue ranging from scenic character, shadow flicker, public safety, tangible benefits, and decommissioning.

Development of new wind power in Maine has been called important to helping ISO New England (ISO NE) to compensate for retirement of certain coal and nuclear generating capacity.

The Maine DEP expects to issue a formal draft and commence the rulemaking process later this year.

The proposed regulations would govern both “grid scale” and “small scale” wind energy developments, according to the document posted June 27.

“An applicant must demonstrate that a proposed wind energy development will establish environmental and economic improvements or benefits to the citizens of Maine attributable to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed development,” according to the draft rule package.

The draft document would also address issues like minimum setbacks from property lines.

“A wind energy development must not significantly compromise views from a Scenic Resource of State or National Significance (SRSNS) such that the development has an unreasonable adverse effect on scenic character or existing uses related to scenic character of the SRSNS,” according to one provision.

Scenic resources with high significance might include “natural national landmarks or federally designated wilderness areas, national or state parks, scenic viewpoints located on trails intended exclusively for pedestrian use and designated by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF),” according to the draft. Scenic rivers, scenic turnouts on certain designated roads and viewpoints that “scored 70 or higher in a Coastal Scenic Inventory published by DACF,” could be included, according to the draft.

An applicant must demonstrate adequate financial capacity to decommission the proposed wind energy development at any time during construction or operation of the development, or upon termination of development operations for any reason. This must include a demonstration that this financial capacity will be unaffected by any future changes in the applicant’s financial condition.

For more information, on the draft rulemaking process, contact mark.t.margerum@maine.gov.

http://www.maine.gov/dep/comment/comment.html?id=696084

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.