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Town Meeting blows with the wind  

KINGSTON – Wind power in Kingston is on its way after Town Meeting approved the creation of a wind energy enterprise fund. All the town needs now is permission from the Legislature to form it.

Eventually, the fund would allow the town to finance, install and operate one or more turbines, but for now the fund will only allow the town to apply for grants to study the possibility of installing turbines that would generate 1.5 to two megawatts at the wastewater treatment plant or other town properties.

The article met resistance from some abutters and particularly from Selectman Paul Gallagher, who was concerned that the article would allow the town to form a wind energy department.

Gallagher said he wanted to make sure that money would only be spent on feasibility and other studies and not on designing, constructing or operating any windmill.

Selectmen Chairman Mark Beaton said the article will not create a department, and the fund will be under the control of the board. “We’ll pay the bills,” he said.

Pine duBois, of Elm Street, and a member of the Green Energy Committee said the committee needs this article to pass if the town wants to continue looking at wind energy.

“This would allow us to function,” she said. “We can’t accept grants right now.”

Wastewater Commission Chairman Elaine Fiore asked for one change in the language of the article, deleting the words “waste water treatment plant” and inserting “at such sites approved by the town.”

She said the change would allow her board to analyze the impact a turbine would have on the electricity needs of the turbine, since the Green Energy Committee wants the turbine to help power the plant. Her amendment was approved.

After nearly 20 minutes of debate, including an explanation from a consultant hired by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative of how much energy particular types of turbines generate, Beaton stood up again, visibly frustrated.

“This is so simple it borders on stupid,” he said. “If we erect a two-megawatt turbine, it will generate $10 million in pure profit (over the life of the turbine). We’re not starting a department, there will be no employees, and no trucks.”

After the second request to move the question, Town Meeting approved the question 83 to 24.

Town Meeting also approved Article 30, extending the wind turbine overlay district to a small portion of land abutting Route 44 near the Plymouth line.

By Casey Meserve

Tue Apr 08, 2008, 08:20 PM EDT


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