Articles filed under General from Massachusetts
Because approval or disapproval of the special permit to build large wind turbines requires a super majority of five of the possible seven planning board votes, the project faced a hung jury. Although no one knew for sure Thursday, several officials thought the only appeal would be through the courts because the state Energy Facilities Siting Board only handles projects of 100 megawatts or greater, such as Cape Wind.
For the past 14 months representatives of a renewable energy task force that includes Island officials and fishermen have been meeting with state and federal spokesmen to discuss the Island's future relationship to large-scale offshore wind projects. In December the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a request for interest in a 2,224-nautical-square-mile area, 12 nautical miles south of the Vineyard, to gauge the interest of developers. The government hopes to produce up to 4,000 megawatts of wind energy in the area.
What was supposed to be opening deliberations Wednesday about a seven-turbine proposal for Bournedale turned into another chance for a Cape Cod Commission subcommittee to request more information. New Generation Wind, a partnership between the Panhandle Trust and Cape Cod Aggregates owner the Lorusso family, proposes to build six 2.5-kilowatt turbines and one two-kilowatt turbine in the area
Frustrated, angry and skeptical fishermen unleashed their criticism Wednesday to a group of state and federal officials who had come to town to talk about wind farms south of Nantucket. This time, it was the Coast Guard, the Interior Department and the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, not NOAA and not fisheries managers.
The Falmouth building commissioner isn't the only one who could have requested that the town follow the special permit process for its controversial turbine. The board of selectmen, acting as the owners of the 1.65-megawatt municipal turbine off Blacksmith Shop Road, has the right to request a special permit process at any point, according to Frank Duffy, the town's attorney.
Cape Wind's opponents countered that the appeal was based on substantial changes to the facts the EPA used to make its decision. "It's primarily procedural but not frivolous," said Audra Parker, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. "Cape Wind has done a lot of bait and switch on a number of issues."
Cape Wind's opponents have added another appeal to the legal tangles that the wind farm's developer needs to confront before its plans to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound can come to fruition.
Minimum performance standards included in the rules would require turbines that produce more than 660 kilowatts to be set back from residential properties a distance of 10 times the rotor diameter. A rotor diameter is the distance across the circle created by the sweep of a turbine's blades.
Not everyone is celebrating. The lawyer representing some Hingham neighbors, who have formed an opposition group called Friends of Turkey Hill, has already warned Cohasset planners that an approval of the permits is likely to trigger a lawsuit. But despite the threat of court action and some lingering concerns of their own, four of five Planning Board members said they were in favor of the turbine project when polled after two hours of discussion.
Town officials hope that a small investment in renewable energy now will lead to significant savings in the future.
The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative is proposing to spend $10 million to buy and maintain the turbines. The cooperative would sell discounted electricity to the town and pay an annual fee for the land as part of a 20-year lease. The planning board is putting together a list of questions generated by public hearings.
Dozens of people spoke at Wednesday night's public hearing, which was an extension of similar meetings held in November and December. Similar arguments heard at those meetings rang resoundingly through the hearing Wednesday night. ...Rick Judd, who said his family lives near the proposed turbines, said they were already considering whether to move if the turbines are installed. He equated any consistent noise to a dripping faucet. "Let that water drip for 20 years," he said.
Months after cheering a vote by the Board of Selectmen which they saw as an important local step in their fight against the coming of a wind turbine project to West Mountain, opponents of the proposal are monitoring state legislation dealing with siting for such projects.
Experimental wind turbines installed on the rooftop of Boston's Museum of Science have produced less electricity than predicted, prompting researchers there to urge caution before homeowners mount a turbine on their property.
After two hours of discussion and with both sides digging in, the board voted Tuesday night to extend the meeting another 20 minutes while Murphy and Foreman tried unsuccessfully to sway the other two board members. Even though the lines in the sand seemed clearly drawn, the board voted to "sleep on it" for a week and will render a decision at its Feb. 17 meeting.
Brewster selectmen and the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative made their final sales pitch for the town's twin-turbine proposal Monday night, as a final vote on the project looms Wednesday, Feb. 9, before the planning board. ...There were about 100 people in the audience.
"I think there is an impression afoot this thing is going up tomorrow," Pierce said. "Nothing is going to happen without Town Meeting action." Pierce said the committee is weighing pros and cons of allowing a 50-meter tall town-owned wind turbine on the Stone estate at Great Hill. He said the committee has been in discussions with Stone family trustees about the possibility of locating a commercial wind-harnessing turbine there.
The latest plan comes from Michael Ferrara, a Quincy developer who owns eight acres on Dennis Road at the southwestern edge of Hingham. He originally planned to build four houses there. But now he says he's interested in erecting a wind turbine on the site - on the scale of the one next to Hull High School - and selling the power to utility companies. ...One catch, though, is that Hingham doesn't have any rules allowing wind turbines.
Cape Wind, said Monday that a decision regarding where to establish the operations base would be made "in the next few months." The main competition for the Harwich Port facility consists of several sites in the Falmouth harbor area, Rogers added. The town has sent a letter of support.
"Offshore wind is happening," said Cohen, who is also CEO of Atlantic Capes Fisheries, a New Jersey company that operates more than 20 fishing vessels. Eight companies are currently proposing projects off Maryland, he said, and his company is one of the eight. ...But some of the fishermen in attendance Monday predicted further ruin for the industry if such projects become a reality.