Somerset Wind Developer: NRG Energy, Houston, TX

Location: The project will be sited in a conservation easement (Easement A-1 – see map) on land owned by the Weyerhaeuser Company that includes portions of Misery Ridge Township, Misery Gore Township, Sapling Township, Johnson Mountain Township (transmission corridor), Chase Stream Township, Taunton & Raynham Academy Grant, and Sandwich Academy Grant.

Project Size: 26 turbines/85.8 Megawatts

Turbine Equipment: Vesta Model 117 (https://www.vestas.com/en/products/turbines/v1173_45_mw#!)

Turbine Nameplate Capacity: 3.45 megawatt (de-rated to 3.3 megawatts)*
(Nameplate is the megawatt output rating of an industrial turbine operating at 100% of capacity. On average, turbines in Maine operate at 27%-30% of nameplate capacity. For example, Somerset Wind at 100% capacity would generate 85.8 megawatts annually, but actual capacity will range from 23 to 26 megawatts annually.)

Turbine hub height: 300 feet
Turbine blade length: 192 feet
Turbine height to blade tip: 492 feet.

Viewshed Analysis

The viewshed analysis you are viewing was produced by the ESS Group – technical consultants to Moosehead Region Futures. ESS utilizes state-of-the-art software modeling to determine the visual impact of large industrial facilities such as industrial wind farms and high voltage transmission lines. The ESS Group (http://www.essgroup.com/renewable-energy.html) has extensive experience in evaluating the visual impact of industrial wind facilities.

A vewshed analysis is conducted to determine the geographic areas within the visual study area (8, 12, and 25 miles) that have a reasonable probability of project visibility. The viewshed analysis conducted for Moosehead Region Futures focuses primarily on Blade Tip Visibility (492 feet), the highest project component of a wind turbine generator.

Based upon the current information of the proposed or hypothetical project location, the number of turbines and turbine height, areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.

Map #1 demonstrates project visibility of the proposed SunEdison/Somerset Wind project within an 8, 12, and 25 mile area from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.

Map #2 demonstrates project visibility, or the combined visual impact, of the proposed SunEdison/Somerset Wind (A-1 easement only) and the proposed EverPower/Northwest Wind projects within an 8, 12 and 25 mile area from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.

Map #3 demonstrates the combined visual impact of a full build-out of the proposed SunEdison/Somerset Wind project. The current proposal for SunEdsion/Somerset Wind is for easement A-1 only, but documents previously submitted by SunEdison suggest the potential to expand the facility into easements A-2 and A-3. The visual impact analysis covers areas within an 8, 12 and 25 mile radius from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.

Map #4 demonstrates the combined visual impact of the full build-out of SunEdison/Somerset Wind and the EverPower/Northwest Wind projects. SunEdison/Somerset Wind buildout would include easements A-1, A-2, A-3. The visual impact analysis covers areas of 8, 12 and 25 mile radius from hypothetical turbine locations. Areas shaded in red will experience project visibility.

Central Maine Power(CMP), along with industrial wind developers Somerset Wind and NextEra are partners in plan to construct a wind energy corridor from the western border near Eustis to the base of Johnson Mountain. NextEra is proposing two large wind farms in the Eustis area. The high voltage, 400 yard wide corridor would travel from NextEra’s developments to the Moosehead region to a power grid interconnection at the base of Johnson Mountain for Somerset Wind. The corridor would impact Parlin Pond, Johnson Mountain Townships and West Forks Plantation then move on to Moscow, Bingham and Athens. The high voltage corridor is being proposed to provide Somerset Wind and NextEra transmission access to sell their power to southern New England utilities. The proposed high voltage transmission line is being designed with an additional capacity of 500 megawatts. The additional megawatts is called “headroom’ which would allow the interconnection of more wind development in the future for the region.

This map shows the hypothetical turbine layout deploying turbines in all three conservation easements. The total turbine count could reach 85 if all areas are fully utilized.

Current Status:

Project development has been going on for over a year.

Somerset Wind, LLC which was sold on September 15, 2016 to NRG Energy by the bankruptcy court in New York, has been in an active planning mode for over a year. Five 200 foot meteorological towers have been collecting wind data, numerous environmental impact studies are in various stages of completion, and meetings with local residence have been conducted. The project appears to be in the latter stages of the pre- permitting process.

As of January 2015, SunEdison submitted a bid as part of the larger New England Clean Power bid for 20 year renewable power purchase agreements with southern New England. The SunEdison bid, the Maine Clean Power Connection (MCPC), is in conjunction with NextEra, a wind developer headquartered in Jupiter Florida, and Central Maine Power (CMP). CMP will provide the transmission.

NextEra is proposing a large, multi-site industrial wind development on the western border near Eustis, ME. Alder Stream Wind and the Moose Wind Center developments have a combined megawatt capacity of 461 megawatts. CMP will be developing the 26.5 mile transmission corridor (see Corridor Map) from the Eustis area servicing the NextEra projects then on to the base of Johnson Mountain/Route 201 near Misery Ridge area to connect with Somerset Wind. The transmission corridor will proceed to Moscow, then on to Pittsfield to connect to the corridor running to the ME/NH border. The Eustis/Johnson Mountain transmission line is designed with an additional 500 megawatts of capacity to transport future wind power development from the Moosehead region to southern New England

The original timeline for announcing the winning bids was July 27, 2016. On July 26, 2016. ISO/New England, the regulatory agency that manages the New England power grid, notified bidders that the selection process would be delayed due to the complexities of the bids. No further updates have been provided. The terms of the bids require that winning bidders must have their projects operational by December 31, 2019.

 

We’ll keep you posted on any new developments.