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Proposed wind turbine bylaw language changed - Would allow them on private land

PLYMOUTH (Feb 4) Not one to give up at the first sign of an obstacle, energy committee chairman Jim Sweeney has already revised the wind-turbine bylaw's language to include private land. He plans to have a warrant article ready in time for spring town meeting in May.

There's a reason for Sweeney's sense of urgency. While President Bush called for more renewable energy in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, the federal tax credits offered to wind-turbine projects run out at the end of 2007. According to Sweeney, a wind-industry man himself, the Department of Energy doubts Congress will extend those credits further.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind energy Production Tax Credit provides 1.9 cents for every kilowatt hour generated at a wind turbine. Once awarded, the credits last for a term of ten years. According to the AWEA, these tax credits are a critical factor in financing new wind farms.

Sweeney explained that Production Tax Credits often go toward repaying the loans taken out to finance wind-turbine construction. Beyond 2007, he said, it's difficult to get a project financed, and it takes about two years to build a wind turbine once its construction has been approved.

"The end of 2007 is the earliest you could see wind turbines in Plymouth," Sweeney said. "If we miss spring town meeting, we won't have them until 2008."

Originally, Plymouth's bylaw, which passed 121-1 at town meeting last fall, limited... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
There's a reason for Sweeney's sense of urgency. While President Bush called for more renewable energy in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, the federal tax credits offered to wind-turbine projects run out at the end of 2007. According to Sweeney, a wind-industry man himself, the Department of Energy doubts Congress will extend those credits further.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind energy Production Tax Credit provides 1.9 cents for every kilowatt hour generated at a wind turbine. Once awarded, the credits last for a term of ten years. According to the AWEA, these tax credits are a critical factor in financing new wind farms.

Sweeney explained that Production Tax Credits often go toward repaying the loans taken out to finance wind-turbine construction. Beyond 2007, he said, it's difficult to get a project financed, and it takes about two years to build a wind turbine once its construction has been approved.

"The end of 2007 is the earliest you could see wind turbines in Plymouth," Sweeney said. "If we miss spring town meeting, we won't have them until 2008."

Originally, Plymouth's bylaw, which passed 121-1 at town meeting last fall, limited wind-turbine construction to municipal land to create an additional check and balance, planning and development director Lee Hartmann said. Construction on town-owned land would require approval at town meeting, ensuring any wind towers built would fit Plymouth's needs.

Attorney General Tom Reilly denied passage of the bylaw this week, however, citing it violated state law. Towns cannot limit development according to who owns a particular parcel of land.

The revised bylaw allows the town to consider building wind-turbines on private land as well as municipal property. According to Sweeney, control would be maintained via the town's zoning board of appeals, which would ultimately grant or deny the special permits necessary to construct the towers.

"I think you can control it with the ZBA," Sweeney said. "They're going to go through anyone's application. If they don't think it's proper for the town, they'll deny a permit."

The bylaw mirrors a similar zoning law on the books in Fairhaven.

"Fairhaven's bylaw is almost identical to Plymouth's, except it says ‘municipal or commercial land,'" Sweeney said.

That bylaw passed two years ago. According to Sweeney, Fairhaven has yet to see wind turbines crop up left and right.

"It really doesn't happen that way," he said. "For two years, no one has put in an application for wind service, except the town of Fairhaven."

The energy committee hopes to gain endorsement for the bylaw's modifications from the planning board and selectmen. Both the energy committee and planning staff met earlier this week to begin discussing bylaw modifications.

Source: http://oldcolony.southofbos...

FEB 4 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1176-proposed-wind-turbine-bylaw-language-changed-would-allow-them-on-private-land
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