Can I afford it, what kind of dollar return will I get, is this the right economic time, will we need an override, should we begin with one and then test the waters? These will be the questions the town is faced with when it comes to our own decisions regarding windmills.
The issue of wind power in Kingston’s future is the by-product of a little known committee that started off as the Secure Energy Future Committee. Realizing that the name was a linguistic exercise in futility, and to be more PC, they officially changed their name to the Green Committee. We have never seen anyone from the media cover this group and you would never know what they do by their Minutes, having filed them only twice from the beginning of 2007 until now. Even the two they did file would not help you understanding the depth of anything they do. But do they do, and how glad we paid them a visit this month.
There has been some talk about siting a wind turbine on land that will house the re-located sewer plant when Lloyd Geisinger’s road get built to service the 200+ apartments that will launch the 40-R project. This tightly packaged property is also to be the home of Kingston’s windmill. Complete studies are still way in the planning stages and there will be much to say at the April Annual Town Meeting. What came as the real shocker however was the Committee’s desire to identify two additional sites for the placement of wind turbines.
One location would be on land owned by Ginny Davis of Plymouth that abuts the 40-R O’Donnell property and supposedly under agreement by Geisinger. The Developer says he will give 14 of the 35 acres to the town and he and the town would utilize the land for groundwater discharge. Nobody has ever looked at the land for such suitability and there remain Natural Heritage issues for endangered species. This location would have to be considered speculative at best.
The third location was identified as a 32,000 square foot isolated parcel near Exit 5 and the Shops at Five in Plymouth. Apparently the parcel, peninsular shaped, according to Mark Beaton, became isolated after the new Route 44 layout was completed. The Green Committee is interested in getting all three sites designated as approved windmill zones, and to do so in April at Town Meeting. The Observer has also received information that Mr. Beaton wants Town Meeting, as early as April, to support a $10 million borrowing article to develop all three sites.
But wait, there’s more! The Observer has learned that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is pursuing alternative energy sites on “a pilot project basis,” The T, in their written response to the Geisinger 40-R MEEPA Environmental Notification Form (ENF) states, they are looking to “perform preliminary screening and alternatives analysis for locations of wind energy.
The MBTA Kingston Layover area is one of the dozen or so locations currently under consideration. The MBTA will be doing more analysis and screening these dozen sites down to two or three sites on which the MBTA would perform more extensive analysis.” The T goes on to state, “Clearly, no decision on the site has been made, and the screening analysis may conclude that the site is not the best location for the MBTA. The Proponent should be aware, however, that the MBTA is considering this site for a wind energy system.”
So, there you have it, from none to possibly four… carrying an enormous price tag, and this is the first time residents are hearing about the enormity of the project costs.
The Green Committee and its members have got to get themselves into a mainstream information mode. With the kinds of plans on the table and the costs associated with those plans, they need to raise the level of consciousness now, especially with the kind of money being discussed. Two sets of superfluous Minutes per year (totaling 318 words) is simply not going to cut it.
By Dan Sapir
29 January 2008
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