FALMOUTH — Falmouth has caught a nearly $3 million financial break from the state for expenses related to the massive turbine known as Wind 2 at the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
Based on a vote taken Wednesday by the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, the town must pay back $2.9 million of the $4.9 million original loan. No interest will be charged and the town has until July 2029 to pay it off.
By setting the interest rate at 0 percent, the trustees have saved the town an additional $1 million, according to Susan Perez, executive director of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust.
The money, provided through a loan/grant program established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was awarded by the Clean Water Trust.
“The Trust is open and willing to working with the town to develop a repayment schedule that works for both parties,” Perez wrote in an email to the Times.
Trustees made the loan reduction “due to the wind turbine being operated an an energy efficient project for the years it was operational,” Perez wrote.
Wind 2 went online in 2011 and was ordered permanently shut down in June by a Barnstable Superior Court judge because it was a nuisance to neighbors.
Wind 1 has been shut down since 2015 when it was denied a special permit and it, too, will remain shut down.
State and federal loans connected to Wind 1 total about $6.6 million. The town took a municipal bond for $5 million to cover costs, and twelve years remain on that bond. The town is currently paying $385,000 a year. On Wind 1, Falmouth is also obligated to issue Renewable Energy Certificates to the Massachusetts
Clean Energy Center. Without the operation of Wind 1, the town is financially obligated to pay about $110,000 annually for another 15 years.
Selectmen have also been working to get Wind 1′s costs reduced since announcing in July that they would end the town’s legal battles to keep the turbines operational and settle pending lawsuits against the town.