Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Massachusetts
A third wind turbine has received City Council's seal of approval. Compared to the matched set of giants that will rise nearly 500 feet from a central high point in Blackburn Industrial Park and help Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates cut into its annual $2 million energy bill, the single tower authorized by the council last week is small. But the top of the blade, as designed, would be 180 feet above the granite ledge on which developer Mac Bell intends to construct an office building containing numerous "green" innovations other than the turbine. ...If it is built, Bell's smaller turbine will be much more obvious than Varian's to those coming into the city, since it would stand on the east bank of the Annisquam River...
A group of town residents has appealed the Conservation Commission's approval of the proposed wind project to the state Department of Environmental Protection, prompting the department to conduct a site review Thursday.
While Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick continues to push for more renewable energy and conservation efforts, a plan to build 20 wind turbines in Florida and Monroe is stymied by a protracted legal challenge from environmentalists. ..."We want to be sure that the state's environmental regulations are properly enforced," said John C. Bartenstein, the attorney representing neighboring opponents and another organization, Green Berkshires.
The United South and Eastern Tribes, an organization of 25 federally recognized Indian tribes in 12 states, has joined with the Wampanoag of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in their opposition to the wind factory on Nantucket Sound. The board of directors of the organization called upon the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which is reviewing the Cape Wind application, to "respect the Traditional, Cultural, Spiritual and Religious beliefs of the Wampanoag People and preserve the spiritual integrity and sanctity of the eastern horizon, vista and horizon viewshed; and to deny the permitting of such a devastatingly and destructive experiment, which will adversely affect and destroy the essence of tranquility, sanctity and spirituality of this sacred place for all time."
But the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound cites more than a few environmental impacts in the DEIS that it believes the Minerals Management Service and the rest of the agencies reviewing the massive project need to pay closer attention to. Impacts on birds, scenic views, navigation, fish species, fishing and boating all received a moderate rating from the MMS. The Alliance also calls into question what it terms the excessive cost of Cape Wind's wind energy and air travel hazards over Nantucket Sound in proximity to the wind farm. Alliance President and CEO Glenn Wattley said the Alliance is working now to examine each impact that was given a moderate characterization by the MMS and figure out ways to address them. "We've been retaining experts," he said. "We have 40 experts on these topics, they are going over the topics [and] we're spending quite a bit of money putting together a professional response for the public comment period," he said.
The federal draft report on Cape Wind tries to evaluate the impacts of this massive project. Most issues are classified as minor, ignoring local sentiment. ...The transfer of over $1 billion from taxpayers' hard-earned money to the developer is also a major issue for taxpayers. Let's look at the impacts of this industrial scale project through the eyes of the affected and not the eyes of strangers living far from the Cape and isolated from its impacts. Locals need to speak up now before it's too late.
The three-blade turbine reaches roughly 155 feet. That includes a pole that is 120 feet high. The owners recently decided to move the project about 150 feet north toward the back of the property. That should reduce the "shadow flicker," a complaint of some neighbors, Kenney said. The rotating blades create shadows. Moving the turbine also will slightly reduce the sound ...
I was APPALLED to recently read in The Hartford Courant an exposé of the wind farms planned for the Berkshires, including one in Savoy. To quote the Green Berkshires Web site: "Wind turbines produce very little energy but a lot of tax breaks, grants, subsidies and price supports for the developers, at tremendous expense to taxpayers and electricity ratepayers." Add to that the destruction of the environment involved (20 acres cleared for each turbine, for starters) and it is clear these projects are ill-advised. ...I will clearly NOT be retiring to Savoy. My property will remain undeveloped and continue to net the town a whopping $112 per year in taxes. And I will find someplace else to spend my generous state of Connecticut pension. I find it unlikely that this will be the only revenue loss the region sustains as a result of these projects.
However, residents should not view Minuteman's $220,000 carrot as a magic bullet to solve the town's fiscal woes. The payments wouldn't start until the turbines are in use - and that's at least three years down the road. Given the progress of other projects in this state, three years is a decidedly optimistic estimate. The Transcript has generally been against the development of large windmill projects in the Berkshires, largely because of their environmental impact and because of the lack of a cohesive plan on where to site them. We are still undecided about the merits of this particular project ...The townspeople are the ones who will have to live with the turbines. We urge them to consider carefully all the pros and cons before casting their votes at the Jan. 3 special town meeting to consider the Minuteman bylaw.
Eighty-two residents of that neighborhood have signed a petition against the proposal. "In spite of significant neighborhood opposition and negative vote by the ZBA, they are still pursuing something that is not economically viable," said Anne Frasca, a certified public accountant whose property abuts the park and who organized the opposition. "The savings generated are minimal - $1,900 a year. . . . That's assuming estimates on wind in the area are accurate, but they never did a full analysis on the wind." The parks commission has said that a professional study doesn't make sense financially for a proposal that will cost the town so little. While Town Meeting approved $60,000 to purchase the turbine, a state grant would reimburse the town $45,000.
Lack of vision and an inability to understand the importance of preserving a town's character and its sense of place, combined with the negative impact of commercial development, has made Fairhaven what it is today. A big part of our problem has been Executive Secretary Jeff Osuch and this non-elected public official's ability to control town government. His blind confidence in new technology has made us a testing ground for pet projects. This time, the town has been sold on two giant misplaced wind turbines by using a smokescreen of environmentalism. Again, he has masterfully played town government to make it happen.
The biggest challenge to the proposed 1.5-megawatt wind turbine in Falmouth Technology Park may not come from the 14 local, state, and federal agencies that Notus Clean Energy LLC needs approval from. Instead it may come from nearby residents who are concerned that the machine will negatively impact their views, lower their property values, create noise pollution, and potentially cause health problems to those in the neighborhood.
RE "UNFAIR meddling in Cape Wind" (Editorial, Oct. 16): How dare you folks from off-Cape try to jam Cape Wind down our throats. The Cape and surrounding waters are a natural, historic, and visual treasure. Just as the National Seashore protects much of the outer Cape from being turned into one more strip mall, what you call the "obstructionist" Cape Cod Commission labors to slow the destruction of what remains of the Cape ("Cape Cod panel denies permit for wind farm," Page A1, Oct. 19).
City Council is considering seeking a financial contribution from the city's biggest company in return for allowing it to alter the horizon with wind turbines tall enough to be visible almost everywhere on Cape Ann. The issue was raised by Councilor Jason Grow as councilors inched toward a vote Tuesday night on permitting Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates to build what would be the tallest turbines in the state. "I support (Grow) on this," said Peckham. "The city will have to live with (the turbines) every single day."
The Cape Cod Commission (CCC) has asserted that the Cape Wind energy project qualifies as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) under Section 12(i) and 13(b) of the Cape Cod Commission Act. The CCC staff report can be accessed from this page.
As an example of how the system can be abused, Patrick administration officials like to point to the challenge to the Hoosac range wind farm in the Berkshires. State officials believe that area residents who have aesthetic objections to the wind turbines have focused on plans for the service roads to the ridge site as a way to delay or possibly block the whole project. But, whatever the motivations of the residents challenging the plans for the roads, they will cross streams in 10 places and merit an intense review process.
But already some people are complaining about turbine's visual impact on the region's scenic landscape (Transcript story, Page 1 on Saturday). The 265-foot-high turbine can be seen clearly from many spots in Hancock, from Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough and Pittsfield and, we suspect, from a lot of other spots in surrounding communities. This is only one windmill. Imagine the complaints to come when turbines begin to sprout up in the 10s and 20s and hundreds, in Hancock, Florida, Monroe, Savoy and off the waters of Cape Cod - if these projects come to fruition. The wind turbines would be far taller than Jiminy's - from 350 feet to well over 400. Most would be built by out-of-state developers with substantial help from government subsidies (read taxpayers' subsidies) and would require significant tree cutting and road building, not only to get the turbines where they must be but also to connect them to the grid. The residents of Berkshire County should seriously consider if the end result would be worth it.
A state arbitration panel has dealt a setback to the Hoosac Wind project by rejecting a state-issued wetlands permit that would be needed to access the site....... The Division of Administrative Law Appeals yesterday ruled that the developer's evaluation of the impact on wildlife habitat was insufficient and certain parts of the project didn't comply with the Wetlands Protection Act.
Town meeting voters Monday shot down a proposal to study the feasibility of creating a town-owned wind farm. Although wind power is an environmentally-friendly energy source and could potentially generate considerable revenue for the town, voters decided that putting a wind farm on the land near the Almeida Farm on Interstate 195 could pose a danger to the wetlands on the 22-acre parcel. John Ferreira, who donated the land to the town for conservation use, spoke against the proposed wind farm.
HANCOCK - Building inspector William Palmer Jr. said Friday he will accommodate the developmental delays of the Berkshire Wind Project, but only to a point. Palmer said he has issued several permits and extensions to Distributed Generation Systems Inc. since 2000 for 10 planned wind turbines on Brodie Mountain. In that time, contractors have dug five turbine foundations, he said. The latest six-month extension technically expires on June 15, and the project has been halted by a legal suit from the nearby Snowy Owl resort, whose owner, Silverleaf Resorts Inc. claims that construction cut trees from a portion of its land and that some of the turbines would mar the "viewscape" of a planned time share development.