May 3, 2011 - renewable energy versus wildlife?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Renewable energy is touted as helping the environment -- but project development can be halted due to concerns about wildlife impacts.  In today's news, a 39-turbine wind project in Maine has withdrawn a key state land use application due to agency concerns over the project's impacts on wildlife.

Highland Wind LLC had proposed a 117 megawatt wind energy development to be located on Stewart Mountain, Witham Mountain, Bald Mountain, Briggs Hill, and Burnt Hill in Highland Plantation and Pleasant Ridge Plantation, Somerset County.  As initially conceived, the project would consist of approximately 39 wind turbines, plus access roads, interconnection facilities including a 34.5 kV collector line, substation, and 115 kV transmission line, and an associated outbuilding.

Two weeks ago, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife issued findings that the project could impact habitat for threatened and endangered species including the northern bog lemming and the Roaring Brook mayfly.  Now, Highland Wind has withdrawn its application to allow it time to evaluate these impacts.

This isn't the first renewable project to be halted due to wildlife concerns.  Last week, BrightSource Energy put the development of phases 2 and 3 of its 392 megawatt Ivanpah solar project on hold due to impacts on the endangered desert tortoise.

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