Peaks Wind Anemometer Application Breezes Through Zoning Board of Appeals; Unity College Forced To Withdraw Its Technical Support of Project

Sam Saltonstall - Spokesman for PEAT

Sam Saltonstall - Spokesman for PEAT

By Carol McCracken

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously last night to approve the application of the Peaks Environmental Action Team  (“PEAT”) that was seeking a conditional use appeal to erect a temporary wind anemometer tower on the Island.  The wind measurement equipment is a necessary precusor to the possible erection of a wind turbine on the Trott-Littlejohn Park on Peaks; that depends on whether or not the collected data warrants that installation.

Sam Saltonstall, speaking on behalf of PEAT, asked for the Board’s approval of its application “based on a new source of the tower.”  Saltonstall, a Peaks Island resident, went on to explain that since February, PEAT had expected to be working with Unity College on this project.  The College had expected to receive a wind anemometer tower from Efficiency Maine (Public Utilities Commission) that it could lend to PEAT as well as provide technical support for – pro bono as well.

However, on August 17, Saltonstall learned from Professor Womersley at Unity College that all of the stimulus money allocated for six wind towers would be going to the University of Maine, Orono, rather than to Unity College, as it had anticipated.  “If we apply and are one of the six comunities chosen for receipt of a tower, the University of Maine will erect and take down the tower and analyze the data, just as Unity had planned to do for us,” said Saltonstall to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  One caveat placed on the new applications by Efficiency Maine is that only applicants with “permitting in hand” will be considered for the new wind anemometer tower loan program. Hence, the need for the application’s approval  was essential to participate in  the process. 

Finally, Saltonstall added that the successful installation of “a small wind turbine that net meters city buidilngs on the island could align with Portland’s Climate Action plan and the goals expressed in the sustainaable Portland Task Force’s report, supplying the city with a modest source of clean, reliable alternative energy.” Saltonstall is a retired teacher.