Articles filed under General from Massachusetts
The Town of Falmouth plans on issuing requests for proposals by mid- to late December to have the two wind turbines at the wastewater treatment plant dismantled. The news of momentum in removing the turbines came during the Monday night, November 22, select board meeting, when Finance Director Jennifer Mullen and special counsel Christopher Morog presented an update to board members.
Statewide rallies took place this summer demanding a moratorium on funding for large-scale solar projects. The moratorium calls on Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides to hit the brakes on the many planned projects that they say clear-cut forests and remove prime farmland from production. The groups leading the rallies, which include Save the Pine Barrens, Save Massachusetts Forests and the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, charge that the state’s solar incentives are driving reckless, unregulated development by big corporations.
Any day now the Interior Department will approve, deny, or suggest changes to Vineyard Wind’s construction plan. The company will need a few small permits and federal sign-offs afterwards, but this represents the last big hurdle for the project. If the ruling is favorable, which seems likely, Vineyard Wind could start offshore construction next year and deliver power by the end of 2023. "I'm sure they'll be drinking champagne and pumping their fists and they will be all happy about it, but I think in the fishing community they're going to look at it as a loss," Anthony says. Anthony says fishermen feel like the country has decided to trade one renewable resource — seafood — for another: wind energy. And he thinks it’s a shame.
After a decade of two wind turbines standing inoperable on the wastewater treatment plant, the town is moving forward with getting them dismantled. The Falmouth Select Board voted at its meeting Monday to hire a consultant to determine how much it would cost to get rid of the turbines, and then create the necessary bids to make that happen.
The Falmouth Select Board on Monday, February 22, approved hiring a consultant to assist with the creation of bid documents necessary for the disposition of the two wind turbines at the wastewater treatment plant site on Blacksmith Shop Road. Attorney Christopher W. Morog told the board that Massachusetts General Law allows for the dismantling and disposal of the turbines under one procurement.
“We’re hoping to take the next step on that, subject to approval by the select board, to go through that unusual procurement process,” Mr. Suso said. “I know we’ve said this before, but we remain guardedly optimistic that we can finally have some reasonable light at the end of the tunnel and a determination in moving forward and ending that chapter in the town’s history.” The turbines are not running, but they continue to be an expense to the town.
Scituate will ask the company that owns the wind turbine on Driftway if they can cut down on the amount of time it runs after eight years of complaints from residents living hundreds of feet from the 262-foot tall turbine.
Vineyard Wind LLC’s decision to push back a permitting review of the $2.8 billion offshore wind farm it plans to build near Massachusetts could delay the project by more than a year, under a ruling by the U.S. Interior Department.
“I remain extremely frustrated with the state, on the one hand, saying we’re going to have to pay back the $3.5 million dollars, but on the other hand saying we’re not going to help you,” board member Douglas H. Jones said. “The state agencies are not communicating with each other or are speaking from two sides of their face at the same time. I understand that they are different state organizations, but the fact that the DoER [Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources] isn’t willing to allow us to use the 25A procurement law is just unbelievable.” Mr. Jones said the decision has tied the town’s hands, leaving it with no viable way to move forward with disposal of the turbines.
After a decade of issues regarding the two wind turbines that stand at the wastewater treatment plant, the town is no closer to seeing them dismantled. The town has been working to find ways to either move the turbines for use elsewhere or dismantling and disposing of them completely. The state recently rejected the town’s request under a specific law that would have made it easier to dismantle the turbines without costing millions of more dollars.
Mayflower Wind recently got approval from the Falmouth Conservation Commission to conduct geotechnical boring investigations at two beach parking lots to eventually install underground cables. The company will appear before the Select Board on Monday to get permission to conduct the tests on town property.
Jacquart explained that when the university acquired the turbine in 2012, hopes were high for an inexpensive service contract while its power output would equate to roughly one percent of the campus energy usage. He said the turbine would frequently break down and generate less and less electricity every time it broke, eventually costing the school more money to maintain it than it was generating.
Cathay Bank, which issued a $5 million loan for the wind turbine, said in a federal lawsuit filed on July 24 that Kingston Wind Independence received the settlement after pursuing arbitration against the turbine manufacturer and the bank wants to be paid back for its outstanding balance, $1.8 million.
Based on sound level testing done last year for the Scituate Wind turbine, results indicate the turbine is in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Noise Policy.
“The allegations made by the Massachusetts Democrats are unfounded and uninformed. In reality, the Department of the Interior carries out the appropriate environmental review of impacts of all energy projects – renewable and non-renewable—based on the following: the law, the facts and often after extensive public input.”
The Independence wind turbine stopped turning permanently in 2019, putting an end to the complaints about noise and flicker that plagued it for seven years.
With several controversial articles on the warrant, the Board of Selectmen had its chance to make Special Town Meeting recommendations a week after the Finance Committee voted its recommendations.
The committee also recommended appropriating $2.5 million to fund the disposition of the town’s two wind turbines. “The $2.5 million is to dismantled and disassemble,” Town Manager Julian M. Suso said. “It is not even to relocate them at this point.”
The legal battle over the Independence wind turbine continues, and the program that provides residents with opportunities to pursue renewable energy projects at their homes is a casualty, at least temporarily.