When the use of wind turbines was originally suggested for the wastewater treatment plant, the Energy Committee assured the public that the town would research what might be involved and there would be many opportunities for input and questions. Neighbors were sent to Hull to view the 660 kw turbine, which was also described in the questionnaire sent to them. Neither neighbors nor Town Meeting in May 2012 were told the size of the initial wind turbine, Wind 1, that was 1.65mw and 397 feet tall. Without proper study the Town made a baseless decision as if it knew what it was doing. Far from it!
The errors and omissions continued. The manufacturer Vestas required the town to sign a letter taking full responsibility for the siting of Wind 2 due to its concerns about the complaints about Wind 1 and known sound pressures the turbine was capable of creating in the designated location. The reply was not signed by the town manager. It was signed by Falmouth’s wastewater superintendent. When that letter was signed, Vestas released the second turbine to the town.
Vestas had asked “Do you have the decibel mapping for Falmouth?” Apparently there was no answer to Vesta’s email by either the Town or Weston & Sampson, the town’s consultants. The town has not provided that answer so far. I’m not sure if there has been an opportunity to ask.
There was never any decibel mapping for the second turbine or for both turbines operating together after the town had assumed responsibility. There was no review of the impact of two turbines operating in close proximity.
Now Town Meeting is being asked to deny a permit process altogether for the operation of Wind 1 even though they have succeeded in getting the Zoning Board to hear it under the old Wind Energy bylaw which was replaced by Town Meeting in May 2012, and passed by unanimous vote.
How can Town Meeting even know what the actual cost of running the turbines is? This has never been accurately measured/publicized. Also, the selectmen cite $15 million for decommissioning but an actual accurate breakdown is vitally important. The town should insist that the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center assist the town with the cost of shutting down Winds 1 and 2. The Mass Clean Energy Center has been responsible from the beginning as seller of Wind 1 to Falmouth after a lengthy and expensive storage of the turbine in Texas. Rather than fund the required sound studies required to responsibly site the turbine which they normally do, they turned a blind eye in order to sell a turbine to the fourth Cape town to consider it.