Power plans on hold after protest

BAR HARBOR — Plans to run new power transmission lines down the Knox and Crooked roads are being reconsidered. Meanwhile, construction of a planned new power substation near Kebo Valley has been put on hold, representatives of Emera Maine told a crowd of about 65 people gathered at the municipal building Tuesday.

“We have heard your concerns over the last few weeks, and we are open to the Route 3 option,” Emera project manager Steve Sloan said about the planned new transmission lines. “We were leaning toward Crooked Road, but by no means was that process final.”

Construction of the planned new Acadia Substation, off Woodbury Road, was to begin in June. But in the face of growing neighborhood protest and official complaints filed with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Emera officials are pushing back the start date. Sloan said Tuesday that he and others understand the intensity of the feelings of those who live near the proposed project, and that they want to work with residents to find a solution that meets both neighborhood and power company customer needs.

Emera (formerly Bangor Hydro Electric) has been working for several years to bring more reliable power to parts of Mount Desert Island. The first two phases of the project included running an additional transmission line onto the island, buried under the Trenton Bridge, and building a new substation in Somesville. The third and last phase is to include running an additional line to downtown Bar Harbor and building the new substation.

While Bangor Hydro purchased the 3-acre Woodbury Road parcel in 2011 and this winter received all necessary permits from the state and the town for the project, neighbors all said they had no idea what was happening until the lot was cleared of vegetation this spring. Since the lot clearing occurred, there has been rising concern over the size and scope of the installation, with many stating that it has no place in a residential neighborhood.

Another public meeting to discuss the power lines and substation is set for June 12 at 6 p.m. in the municipal building auditorium. Sloan is the Emera contact person for these projects, and he can be reached at [email protected] or 949-0205.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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