By Shaw Israel Izikson, North Adams Transcript
Thursday, August 24
SAVOY – A wind turbine bylaw proposal has planners of the Minuteman Wind project concerned.
The company has proposed five 420-foot wind turbines for West Hill on a 293-acre parcel owned by Diane and Harold Malloy, who run a logging operation there.
“We think that the current bylaw they (town officials) are considering is very restrictive and overly complicated. We would like to go into discussions with the Planning Board about the bylaw, and we are preparing some detailed comments,” said Minuteman Wind LLC President Donald McCauley.
Planning Board member Donald Phinney said that, while McCauley has been at previous meetings, he has not explained to the board what his objections are. “Nothing really came out of the previous meetings,” Phinney said. “He may find it restrictive, but that’s his own opinion. He may not like what we’ve done so far.”
McCauley would not specify why the zoning bylaw the town is considering is restrictive.
“We will be meeting with the Planning Board in early September to figure out the appropriate approach,” he said. “After we’ve presented our comments to the board, we will explain what the issues are.”
Phinney would not give a copy of the proposed bylaw to the Transcript, nor would he explain the details because, he said, “There is so much content in it.”
He said the board hopes to have the bylaw approved at a special town meeting in October.
The company intends to build a 12.5-megawatt facility to generate enough electricity annually for about 2,500 homes.
In a previous interview, McCauley said the turbines would generate 4 million megawatt hours over the course of a year. “We expect to sell the power to the wholesale power grid in New England, and we think it will be a benefit to the residents of Savoy,” he said previously. He said the project was scheduled to start in 2007 but did not have any cost estimates.
The wind power company will hold an informational meeting on the project Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Savoy fire station. It is being held to respond to questions about the project that were raised by residents at a meeting in June.
“I would rather not get into the questions that were asked at this point,” McCauley said. “Right now, we are heading into the permitting process on the project, and we are also preparing an environmental notification to the state.”
Minuteman received a $200,000 predevelopment loan last year from Renewable Energy Trust, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
The Minuteman project is one of a number of wind-power projects that are in the planning stages in the Berkshire region. Others include the Hoosac Wind Power project in the town of Florida and Monroe, and the Berkshire Wind Power project in Hancock.
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