Wind Power Revitalizes Remote Community
In addition to pollution-free power wind farms, such as Rollins Wind in Maine, provide income stream to landowners and boost rural economies with tax revenue and stability. The project itself has a total capacity of 60 megawatt but the real story lies in the economics.
Located just outside four small communities in Penobscot county Rollins Wind is Maine-made energy without question. From planning through completion project developers First Wind, now SunEdison, was committed to maximizing the economics for Maine. During construction 97 Maine-based companies were engaged, including 19 in the immediate area, bringing an impressive $29 million to the state. Additionally, during construction restaurants were full and hotels were sold out thanks to the over 500 contractors utilized over the 2 year construction period – with as many as 200 full-time positions during peak construction, including day-to-day management roles.
The project continues to have positive incremental impact for the county. For at least 30 years Rollins is expected to provide an estimated tax revenue totaling $24 million to surrounding communities. This money creates stability for governments and reduces burden on tax payers. Lincoln, the projects nearest neighbor expects $260,000 every year for the next 30 years. “We can put up street lights with that… That’s money that we don’t have to ask taxpayers for,” said Town Manager Lisa Goodwin. Within the first year, Lincoln moved fast to take advantage of new-found funds to purchase needed equipment including a new plow truck, pickup, police cruiser, and completing necessary paving projects. “Having a wind farm in this community and its tax revenue helps us attract other businesses,” adds Will Labrie, Executive Director of the Lincoln Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We already had natural resources, but now we have improved infrastructure and a stable tax base.”
Wind power projects keep land usable for other activities
For some, the biggest opportunity comes from protecting lands from other development. “Wind power allows large landowners the opportunity to maximize the value of their land. That helps preserve large tracts of land for public use,” said Bob Meyers, Executive Director of the Maine Snowmobile Association. Without, landowners face increasing pressure to sell or subdivide. “If that trend is allowed to continue, we will see an erosion of outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Rollins Wind’s 40 1.5 megawatt wind turbines generate enough power for estimated 23,000 homes annually.