Library from Massachusetts
While the official business was a proposal to increase the maximum height of already approved wind-power turbines, the hearing turned into a wider and contentious critique of wind power's safety in rural communities. No votes were taken. The question of whether a project in the making since 2004 can increase its height by 30 feet will be decided at a future special Town Meeting.
Massachusetts regulators have issued new, stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s fossil fuel power plants and ordered utilities to buy at least 16% of their electricity from clean energy sources in 2018.
Residents said they feared the 500-foot tall turbines would adversely affect the aviation tradition on the lake, culminating every fall with the Greenville Fly-in. “There’s a lot at stake,” McDonald told the group. “The view and the wilderness experience. There’s a future at stake if you want to develop tourism in the area, the turbines pose a serious threat to the region.”
A group that fears that more industrial wind development in rural Somerset County will hurt the economy and quality of life for area residents.
An Acton couple are facing 30 years in prison after filing for more than $50 million in grants from the 2009 federal stimulus bill meant to spur the economy out of the Great Recession, in order to reimburse themselves for wind farm and biofuel projects the U.S. Department of Justice claims never happened.
Evans-Brown says opponents want to know why their scenery should become the pass-through for Massachusetts' electricity needs, "people who have businesses that would be impacted by the construction, and who believe they're business depends on tourists coming up to visit. There's a very famous pancake parlor that the owner came and gave very impassioned testimony."
The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust Board of Trustees voted Wednesday, August 2, to convert what was a conditional $4.86 million grant to the town into a loan. The money, originally stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, came to Falmouth through the trust to pay for construction of the second turbine, known as Wind 2
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.
John Tynan, chairman of the Select Board, said he learned many residents who wanted to attend the hearing were unable to do so because of the date. "We can't put all the players together," he said. "We thought we had all our ducks in a row but we didn't."
Project opponent Audra Parker of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound said BOEM's supplemental environmental impact assessment was conducted with too narrow of a scope and did not take into consideration that offshore wind technology has advanced since Cape Wind was first given federal approval in 2010, Cape Wind's failure to extend state permits, alternative clean energy projects that are now possible, and the termination of power purchase agreements.
Canadian utility Emera has proposed exporting power from 1.2GW of future onshore wind farms in eastern Canada via a subsea cable to Massachusetts, to help the New England state meet its mandated renewables target.
Proposed wind-power turbines on a Savoy ridge could get three stories taller. The town's Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday to consider amending its decade-old bylaw regulating wind energy.
Selectmen addressed the financial circumstances while announcing the decision not to appeal, saying “we know there would be substantial costs associated with taking down the turbines in addition to the lost electricity generated by both Wind 1 and Wind 2 as well as the looming debt associated with not running the turbines.” “These are real numbers and those liabilities have real impact on our community services and resources,” the statement read.
The shutdown comes nearly a year after the company took steps to replace an oil pump motor within the turbine's nacelle and brought it back up to full capacity last July 27.
But the recent development in Falmouth, where a judge ordered the town’s two wind turbines at the municipal wastewater facility to be powered down because they constitute a nuisance, is a positive development. “It’s definitely a ray of hope for us,” said Ian Davies of Plymouth, a neighbor of the turbines. Davies was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by a group of private citizens against Future Generation Wind and the town of Bourne.
“It’s just such a tremendous relief to me and it’s still taken these past couple of days to sink in,” said Barry A. Funfar, a plaintiff in the case that ultimately led the board of selectmen to drop legal proceedings. Mr. Funfar is one of several neighbors who argued that the presence of the turbines negatively affected their health.
The costs of the Wind Turbine Curse keep adding up.
The Falmouth Board of Selectmen voted Monday night not to appeal a judge’s decision ordering the shutdown of the town’s two massive wind turbines. “It’s time to put the matter behind us and move forward,” board Chairwoman Susan Moran said.
The seven-year saga of Falmouth’s two town wind turbines may now be coming to an end.
As Falmouth selectmen consider challenging a cease-and-desist order that left the community’s second wind turbine inoperable, they are taking into account all legal action surrounding the town-owned machines near Blacksmith Shop Road.