The Board of Selectmen met with the Alternative Energy Committee on Monday night in Town Hall to ask its members questions about a $63,400 wind turbine that Town Meeting voters last week authorized as a way to cut energy costs.
More than 30 people attended the session. Energy committee chairman David P. Dionne delivered a packet of information about the proposed, 120-foot structure and provided the minutes of the committee’s meetings, dating back over several months.
“Mea culpa,” Mr. Dionne said, acknowledging a request by board chairwoman Veronica F. Beaulieu for the documents, which should have been sent to the selectmen as a regular matter of business.
Mrs. Beaulieu said she was pleased to receive the information, smiled and added, “This could have answered a lot of questions.”
Instead, Mr. Dionne fielded questions from both Mrs. Beaulieu and Selectman Gary Earle Mauk. For those that he and other commission members and its supporters could not provide answers, Mr. Dionne promised to respond in two weeks when next the two panels meet.
Mr. Mauk asked about the layout and technical engineering of the wind turbine, which will be 10 kilowatts in size, and questioned who would do the installation.
Committee members said the low bidder, a company from the South Shore, would erect the wind turbine and make the electrical connections to Town Hall.
Mr. Mauk asked a series of in-depth and highly technical questions, some of which must await answers in two weeks
Mr. Dionne told Mr. Mauk the town’s own Highway Department would excavate the site for the wind turbine north of its garage, and dig the trench in the Town Hall parking lot in which the lines to carry the electricity produced by the turbine would be placed.
At first, Mr. Dionne speculated that the trench need be only several inches deep. Mr. Mauk suggested that in consideration of the heavy trucks that drive across the lot, it may well be the trenches end up 3-to 4 feet deep. Mr. Dionne concurred that is a possibility.
Committee members and Mr. Mauk and Mrs. Beaulieu discussed the grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative that will pay for most of the cost. Mrs. Beaulieu asked about the mechanism that Mr. Dionne foresees being in place to reimburse the town’s stabilization fund for the $63,400 withdrawal that Town Meeting voters approved to fund the project.
Mr. Dionne explained that he foresees the grant proceeds being deposited in the town’s general fund and then transferred by Town Meeting voters into the stabilization fund to restore much of the withdrawal.
He anticipated that the yearly savings, about $1,200, would subsequently follow the same route to replenish the stabilization fund.
By Joseph R. LaPlante
Standard-Times staff writer
8 May 2007