Wind energy is a hot topc right now, said Geoff West. He should know. West is the environmental coordinator in Maine for one of the hottest companies in the field right now – FirstWind. Geoff and MHN were looking at the flurry of recent newspaper clips on the subject from both national and local papers. Geoff and MHN were sitting in the conference room of the offices in the Old Port to which his company had just moved from another smaller Old Port location.
FirstWind is a Massachusetts-based company that expanded its offices to Portland to become its New England headquarters. There are three wind power farms in Maine and two in New York State that this branch office overseas. FirstWind has just sucessfully passed through the permitting process and if all goes well, Maine will have another wind farm by FirstWind – this one in Oakfield, Maine – in Aroostook County. According to West, the permit was approved last week for 51 megawatts there. Opponents of the project have 30 days to appeal it. West said that those “opposed to visual aspects of the projects, usually find other issues, such as sound or noise, to try and stop the project.”
While there is plenty of public criticism of Maine’s permitting process, West would only say that, “It is a rigorous and thorough process here in Maine.” Texas which is a leader in the land wind dturbine movement has no local permitting process. Of off-shore wind development, West says that the development of the necessary technoloogy is ten years out. It’s too early to tell what all the impacts of offshore development would be.”
Prior to his recent move to the Hill, West lived in south Florida. Previous to that, he worked in wind development in the mid-west and in Texas. Originally from West Virginia this guy, with his youthful movie star good looks lives with his two young ( one is 4 months old) children and his working attorney wife.
(Editor’s Note: It is suggested that readers of this on-line news service, read the front page article in todays “Portland Press Herald” by Tex Turkel, “Backers of wind power decry claims of conflict.” It involves Kurt Adams, head of the Portland office of FirstWind and his relationship with Gov. Baldacci.)