By Carol McCracken
The Peaks Island Council voted unanimously last night in favor of a resolution that supports Peaks Energy Action Teams’ effort to gather data via wind testing with the goal of considering whether or not a wind turbine is justified on the Island. The passed resolution will be forwarded to the city of Portland later. (The vote was a straw vote that will be formalized on March 25th, the council’s next meeting).
Sam Saltonstall, a spokesperson for PEAT, reported to the PIC that Peaks Island Land Preserve voted earlier in the week not to amend its easement to allow the wind testing to go forward on one of the World War II observation towers on the Island. The land which covers 95 acres does not permit “windmills” to be erected on towers and that structures thereon must be temporary – not more than 90 days. A wind meter needs to be in place for a year or two to gather the necessary data.
PIC member Lynn Richard said its time to move on to Plan B. That means considering the Trott-Littlejohn property for the testing. According to Dr. Mick Wormsley of Unity College, this site would be doable, but a little more complicated. PIC member Rob Tiffany said the issue to be addressed is getting data. “Then we can address other issues. It’s all about data gathering.” PIC chairman Mike Richards was the only councilor to express any concerns about wind testing. Councilor Richard responded that technology is changing so quickly that we can’t predict what the technology will be a few years down the road. It’ll be much more advanced than it is today.”
Councilor Elizabeth Stout said it’s important for people to know that the site of the wind testing and the site of the wind turbine need not be the same – assuming the matter progresses in that direction.
Councilor Tom Bohan summed it up: “Peaks Island should be a leader in the wind power area.”
(Saltonstall will appear before the City of Portland’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability Committee on Tuesday, March 17th at 5:30 PM)