Wind farm shuttered: Facing May 7 referendum, process delays cited as reason

Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo via Daily Mining Gazette Wind turbines are bathed in the first rays of sunlight at the Saddleback Ridge Wind Project on March 20 in Carthage, Maine.

The Summit Lake Wind Farm is no longer being pursued, according to a press release from Renewable Energy Systems issued Friday.

“After a careful review of several factors, RES has decided to discontinue the development of the Summit Lake Wind project,” Sean Stocker, RES Project Manager, said in the release. “We have enjoyed working with the local community and want to thank all the landowners and supporters of the Summit Lake Wind project.”

The release cited “continued delays in the planning process” making the project financially and logistically unfeasible as the reason for ending the pursuit of the project, which was first proposed in early 2018.

Wayne Abba is the spokesperson for the group opposed to the wind farm, Friends of the Huron Mountains. He said the cancellation of the project was welcome news.

“We opposed the project for many reasons,” Abba said. “Questionable economic benefits, environmental damage, tribal rights and more, and forced a referendum on the permissive zoning changes adopted last year by the (L’Anse) Township Board.”

The referendum, which is on zoning ordinance changes rather than on the wind farm project itself, will be held as scheduled on May 7.

The zoning change, which was passed in a 4-1 vote by the board in October, will allow wind farm developers to erect turbines on commercial forest land.

The referendum seeks to overturn the board’s decision and prohibit such development in commercial forests.

Township Supervisor Pete Magaraggia and other L’Anse Township officials were not available for comment. Township offices are closed on Fridays.

Abba says that FOHM will turn its focus toward healing the community divide around the turbine issue and “making this a better place to live and visit.”