Peaks Officials Meet Portland Officials – On Wind Power Testing For Peaks Island

By Carol McCracken

Residents of Peaks Island may be getting closer in their effort to have wind measuring instruments installed on the Island. The effort is being led by the Peaks Environmental Action Team (“PEAT”). However, a large part of the effort so far has been an educational one for residents of the Island. PEAT emphasizes that it wants full community support for the project in order to keep moving forward – with the end result of locating a wind turbine on the Island.

Last night two Island residents Sam Saltonstall of PEAT and Michael Langella, a member of the Peaks Island Council met with members of Portland’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability Committee at City Hall. Saltonstall, a spokesperson for PEAT, spoke to the Committee and answered their questions. The Committee is composed of Mayor Jill Duson and Councilor Dory Waxman. The chair is Councilor David Marshall.

Currently PEAT supports placing the wind measuring instruments on an existing 80-foot tall former U. S. Navy tower. Near the top of the tower there are brackets which could support the necessary pole on which to mount the wind measuring instruments. “This would be a much better location than the previously considered Trott-Littlejohn Park,” said Saltonstall in a telephone conversation earlier today. “It’s already higher up with the tower there and it would not require a zoning change.” It would, however, require a change of use permit for the tower, said Saltonstall.

The necessary equipment to conduct the wind tests would be provided by Unity College for free. Professor Mick Wormsley who heads up the College’s loan program visited Peaks Island recently and toured the possible site. If Portland approves the change of use permit for the installation on the tower, work could begin as early as this spring – as soon as the weather improves. The project would have to be approved by the Island’s Conservation group since the tower is on conservation property.

Both Saltonstall and Langella emphasize that it’s necessary to have full support of the Peaks Island residents – not only the year-round residents, but the summer residents as well.