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Since 2004, the Beacon Hill Institute has published analyses showing that the economic costs of the project would exceed the benefits by hundreds of millions of dollars, and that the project would require commensurately large subsidies.
The appeals board of the Old King's Highway Regional Historic District killed the project, at least temporarily, by voting against it Sept. 28. The decision reversed an earlier approval by the Dennis Old King's Highway Historic District Commission.
Dennis Town Administrator Rick White said the town has the legal right to appeal on behalf of its residents. "It's clear under the law that the board of selectmen, on behalf of the community, can appeal in court the decision of an outside group that impacts the town."
The Cape Wind project will feature hundreds of turbines off Nantucket Sound, but thousands of ratepayers in Greater Lowell communities will be the ones seeing their energy bills rise. Lowell, Chelmsford, Billerica and Tewksbury are some of the cities and towns where ratepayers will pay more when Cape Wind comes online.
In official testimony to the DPU, TransCanada's Michael Hachey said that Cape Wind "is one of the highest-priced contracts ever signed by a Massachusetts utility." The company is not opposed to the project, but to the contract. National Grid should have received bids from out-of-state projects in a formal procurement process, Hachey said.
In an odd twist to the decade-long fight over the controversial offshore energy project, those farthest away from the planned wind farm will often have to pay its higher electric bills - while many of the most vocal opponents closest to the project will get a financial pass.
Perry charged Friday that Cape Wind would be a drain on the economy. Electricity for a small grocery store would increase $500 per month if the state Department of Public Utilities gives the wind farm the green light, he said. "That's a job killer," Perry said.
"Our goal as an organization is to inform local residents about the realities of industrial wind turbines and the very negative effects they can have on health, safety and our environment," the group's President Sheila K. Bowen of Harwich, said in a statement.
Salazar's decision to issue a so-called "record of decision" for the project in April still faces a slew of legal challenges and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities is in the middle of a review of the project's cost effectiveness. A decision from the state board is expected by November.
Local and state governments have been sold a renewable energy source that won't deliver on the promised environmental or economic benefits, Bowen said. "We want to present a fuller picture about wind turbines," Bowen said. "We want both sides to be heard -- not just the side saying it will be wonderful."
Several people rose to ask the subcommittee to carefully consider the issue, using independent consultants if necessary, particularly since so many parents had fears that the sound might be audible from Bournedale Elementary School.
Unless a new law handing oversight of such projects to the state is passed, First Wind would need town meeting approval for a zoning change to build the towers. Residents who spoke out Wednesday said they would also work to defeat changes to local bylaws that would clear the way for the project.
The results of a yearlong study persuaded the Braintree Electric Light Department to rule out the construction of a wind turbine of its own. ..."We try to invest as much as we can in renewable energy without negatively impacting rates," he said.
"So basically, you're looking at about two-and-a-half times market rates and about double other green projects like land-based wind. This is basically a transfer of wealth from Massachusetts ratepayers to a private developer," Parker said. Robert Rio agrees. He's a senior vice president with Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents about 6,000 companies across the state - many of which, he says, would be crippled by higher electric rates if the Cape Wind contract is approved.
The bylaw gives Dartmouth the right to erect turbines in any zoning district when they are built on town lands. But the attorney for the neighbors said Monday night they will continue to oppose the project. He said that it is not a suitable location for the turbines.
The high school originally proposed a location for the turbine immediately west of Newtown Cemetery off Sparks Avenue and between the baseball field and the football field. Because the Historic District Commission would not support placement so close to the cemetery, the location was changed. Fredericks had wanted the turbine closer to the cemetery to give it an adequate fall zone ...But the commission said the wind turbine would visually affect the historic nature of the cemetery, said Fredericks, so we moved it over about 200 feet closer to the school.
Concerns for large towers include falling or thrown ice sheets, noise and large enough parcels to prevent collapsing towers from falling onto abutting land. A modern bylaw, however, would have to address new technology and smaller units for use by businesses and residential property owners.
Representatives of Boston-based First Wind fielded questions inside Hitchcock Academy Monday night about the turbines they propose erecting atop West Mountain, while a few dozen opponents protested with signs outside. Both sides are expecting their main political battle will come next spring at a Town Meeting when a proposal for a zoning bylaw change that would allow the wind farm to be built will be acted on.
"If you extend the buffer out to 12 miles, based on comments coming in, based on our looking at what seems to be a more reasonable distance for pushing projects offshore, it's in the interest of wind energy developers and in our interest in facilitating a renewable energy industry not to introduce the kind of things that cause people not to want these projects near them," he added.
The controversial project's latest flashpoint is the $66 million cost to ratepayers and taxpayers for the eventual dismantling of Cape Wind's 130 turbines after the wind-farm ceases its planned operations in 25 years, as the Herald first reported yesterday. "This is insanity, and just another example which shows all the hidden costs of this project."