Editorial

Bad bets by Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a quasi-public agency tasked with encouraging renewable energy technologies in the State, is funded through a monthly systems benefit surcharge to all electricity users statewide. MTC has spent millions speculating on wind proposals, including $250k on the out-of-state Redington, Maine project which was denied a permit.

Windaction.org has watched MTC continuously speculate and pressure small towns into adopting community wind energy regardless of need and with no apparent understanding of competing community interests and land use restrictions.

Ratepayer money was gambled and spent before any final approvals for erection of wind turbines in the Town of Orleans. In 2005, MTC contracted to purchase two new Vestes V82 – 1.65 megawatt wind turbines for $5.28 million. They took delivery of the turbines nine months later on Sep 20, 2006 and warehoused them in Houston, TX at storage fees as high as $3,000 a month.

As it turns out, issues with sensitive watershed areas compromised the plan. Then the agency aggressively worked to get the turbines placed in Mattapoisett, MA and neighboring Fairhaven, MA, but public opposition to the giant structures too close to residential areas stymied that effort. Last month, Fairhaven residents filed a civil suit to keep the turbines out.

MTC is now looking to cut its losses and unload the turbines at the original purchase price, less the service warranty which has expired.

Perhaps it’s time for MTC to reevaluate its tactics and how best to implement its mission. Building green communities involves more than moving town to town and leaving a trail of turbines behind. The ratepayers of Massachusetts deserve more accountability from their quasi-public agencies.

 

JUL 8 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/15849-bad-bets-by-massachusetts-technology-collaborative
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