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'Economic sense' blows down wind turbine plan  

MATTAPOISETT – There will be no wind turbine off Brandt Island Road, due to the Mattapoisett Wind Power Committee’s decision that it would not be economically viable.

The committee voted last week to not pursue a feasibility analysis for a turbine because data from the meteorological tower in the area indicated it would require two turbines in order to generate enough electricity to break even.

“It does not make economic sense to pursue that,” said Selectman Jordan C. Collyer, who is also a wind power committee member. “We don’t have room there for two turbines anyway. It just wasn’t going to be worth the effort.”

There is still a chance a commercial wind turbine could be built in another location in Mattapoisett. Officials said the Mattapoisett Landfill is a leading site. The decision not to place a turbine in the state-owned parcel in the rural Brandt Island area was cheered by the residents of the Leisure Shore and Brandt Beach neighborhoods who fought against the project.

“It’s been a long battle,” said Frank Haggerty, a Brandt Island Road resident who helped form Concerned Citizens for Responsible Wind Power, a citizens group that led a petition drive last year against the meteorological tower. The group raised thousands of dollars for wetland studies to prove the site’s unsuitability.

“We don’t want any turbines in residential areas,” Mr. Haggerty said. “We’ve been living in fear of losing the values of our homes. It’s like nobody thought about how the residents felt before jamming this down our throats.”

The 150-foot meteorological tower was installed in January 2006 to assess the feasibility of using wind turbines to save money on electricity. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative erected the tower, and worked with UMass Dartmouth to study the wind data.

Nils Bolgen, an MTC program manager who has been handling the Mattapoisett project, said seven months of wind data, measured at 50 meters above the ground, showed an average wind speed at Brandt Island of 5½ meters per second.

“That’s not too bad,” Mr. Bogen said, “But we haven’t done an analysis to scale it to 70 or 80 meters, which is what you have to do because turbines are typically on an 80-meter tower.”

Mr. Bogen said the Brandt Island met tower will be taken down within two months, and will be reinstalled at another community wind site in Mattapoisett. He said Angelica Point and Strawberry Point are possibilities, but those sites have road access issues that would have to be addressed.

The Mattapoisett Landfill is mentioned as the next best site for a turbine, but Mr. Bogen said it is not clear whether the location has enough wind.

“We’re interested in taking a closer look in the wind resource further inland, in the whole SouthCoast area really, to get a better handle on what’s out there,” he said.

Selectman Ray Andrews, a staunch supporter of wind power, believes the landfill, which at its highest point has an elevation of about 125 feet, would be a good location.

“It makes perfect sense,” Mr. Andrews said. “It’s not in anyone’s backyard. It’s already 125 feet in the air. By the time you put a tower there, there would be plenty of wind up there.”

By Brian Fraga
Standard-Times staff writer


2 April 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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