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Special Town Meeting set for vote on Fairhaven wind turbines  

The fate of the proposed Little Bay wind turbines will be in the hands of Town Meeting voters on May 15.

Selectmen Monday night scheduled a special Town Meeting for May 15 at 7 p.m. in the Hastings Middle School auditorium solely to deal with the issue after a citizen petition with 200 signatures reached their desks.

Under state law, a special Town Meeting has to be called if citizens present a petition with at least 200 signatures.

While an annual Town Meeting that includes a special portion is scheduled for May 5, selectmen failed to include a wind turbine article on the warrant.

The special Town Meeting article asks that the town be allowed to lease land it owns near the water treatment facility off Arsene Street for 20 years to CCI Energy, the company that plans to erect two $7 million, 400-foot-tall wind turbines. The article is currently the only one on the May 15 warrant.

Citizens can submit additional articles until this Friday, town Executive Secretary Jeffrey W. Osuch said.

If the land lease article passes, CCI still has to meet local, state and federal requirements before it can erect the turbines.

“We should all demand that town officials find the answers to questions that are of importance before any project of this magnitude goes forward,” said Ken Pottel, a member of the WindWise Fairhaven group that has opposed the project.

WindWise has argued that Fairhaven’s wind power bylaw violates noise and setback standards, among other things. Tuesday, Mr. Pottel expressed surprise about the latest developments, saying the special Town Meeting issue snuck through Monday night without WindWise members’ knowledge.

CCI is proposing to erect two turbines on leased town property that would help power the water treatment plant and other nearby town buildings at a discount rate.

CCI would sell excess electricity to the pool of electricity on the regional grid. The company has estimated the towers could save the town at least $50,000 in electricity costs per year.

Additional revenue to the town will come from the land lease, taxes and royalties, for a total of at least $150,000 a year.

CCI is trying to erect the turbines by the fall to benefit from the sale of renewable energy credits and federal tax credits that expire at the end of the year.

By Joao Ferreira
Standard-Times staff writer

southcoasttoday.com

25 April 2007

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

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