Carthage wind farm garners commissioner support

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FARMINGTON – County commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter of support for a Carthage wind farm to the Department of Environmental Protection, which is considering the project.

The 33-megawatt project would situate 12 turbines, each 450 feet tall, along the ridge of Saddleback Mountain, in southern Franklin County. The developer, Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., is a subsidiary of Jay Cashman Inc., a civil and marine construction firm, and currently operating a 3-turbine project in Freedom.

Project Manager Andy Novey presented an overview of the development to the commissioners, which is currently amidst the DEP’s permitting process. The town of Carthage has voted down both a comprehensive plan and a wind power moratorium.

Novey said that his company hopes to begin construction this year. He valued the project at $66 million, $58 million of that within the town of Carthage. In addition to the impact on the tax base, the company would pay the town $4,000 per turbine per year, as well as a one-time payment of $60,000 to the Bureau of Parks and Lands for conservation purposes.

Carthage Selectman Stephen Brown said that the selectmen were generally supportive of the project.

“I think a lot of people in this town are in favor of it,” Brown said, noting that others were not. In the past, residents had expressed concerns about the visual impact of the turbines on the ridge, which is widely visible throughout Carthage.

Commissioners voted to draft and mail a letter expressing their support of the project. As Carthage is an organized municipality, county government has no role in the permitting or approval process.

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