Town Meeting warrant nearly completed

St. George residents question siting of offshore wind cable connection

By Dan Otis Smith | Mar 21, 2017
Photo by: Dan Otis Smith Representatives from Aqua Ventus take questions from St. George residents at a Select Board meeting March 20.

Tenants Harbor — Residents raised concerns at the March 20 Select Board meeting about the possibility that power cables from the Aqua Ventus offshore wind project proposed off Monhegan could make landfall in Port Clyde.

Some of the roughly 30 attendees questioned whether 34.5-kilovolt cables running through town would create an eyesore or safety hazard, and how St. George would benefit from the cables.

The questions came after a presentation from University of Maine Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward explaining the project.

The 34.5-kilovolt cables would share utility poles with current 12-kilovolt cables, though the current poles would have to be heightened by ten feet to take the new cables.

The town-owned waterfront property at 10 Cold Storage Road has been raised as a possible point of landfall for the cables.

Other questions related to the size and duration of the project.

After Ward said it would take three to four years of data collection to be able to sell project technology to a company interested in building a larger wind farm in another location, Wendy Carr of St. George questioned the 20-year duration of the project proposed. Ward responded that it would take that long to finance the project through electricity sales, but that data collection would continue for the 20-year period.

"But if this is for educational or study purposes, why is that piece [financing] driving the amount of years that it exists?" Carr asked.

"Well, it's a balance of both, right?" Ward responded. "Because you won't have the living lab if you don't have the financing to make the whole thing."

Select Board Chairman Richard Bates told attendees toward the end of the question period that it was up to the town to dictate its terms for accepting the Aqua Ventus infrastructure, should it consider the possibility.

"We need to have discussion among the Select Board, and I hope there will be a lot of community discussion and I think we'll have hearings about how we should go forward," Bates said.

He added that the Select Board would be discussing the issue at its next meeting, on March 27 at 7 p.m., at the Town Office.

Liquor licenses, Town Meeting warrant draft approved

Earlier in the meeting, the Select Board approved liquor licenses for two inns in town, the East Wind Inn in Tenants Harbor and the Seaside Inn in Port Clyde.

And after the Aqua Ventus presentation, the Select Board approved a Town Meeting warrant that includes articles to elect two Select Board members and two School Committee members. Nomination papers for the positions are due at the Town Office by April 3.

The warrant also contains an article asking whether the town should raise $4,000 for planning and $24,600 for permitting and design at the 10 Cold Storage Road property the town has been discussing. A planned public hearing for how to move forward on the property has yet to be scheduled. The Harbor Committee will be discussing 10 Cold Storage Road again March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Town Office.

Some budget numbers have yet to be finalized.

The St. George Town Meeting takes place May 9 at 7 p.m., at the Town Office. Voting on the ballot articles will take place the day before.

Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at dsmith@villagesoup.com

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