PORTSMOUTH – The town’s Economic Development Committee has verbal assurances that the FAA will quickly approve an application for a wind turbine on the grounds of Portsmouth High School, according to committee Chairman Richard Talipsky.
Talipsky said yesterday that the committee needs to move quickly if it is to lock in the price of the installation at $3 million, the amount approved by voters last fall, and to ensure that delivery remains on schedule next November.
The FAA had initially approved the erection of the tower on the high school grounds, as long as the overall height remained below 359 feet and the application was supported by engineering data verifying the height and the exact latitude and longitude of the location.
But the committee proposed to move the site about 150 feet south to ensure that, in the unlikely event the turbine fell off the tower, it would not crash into a nearby water tank, Talipsky said.
He said the committee also wanted to put extra distance between the tower and the historic site of Fort Butts, which figured in the Battle of Rhode Island in the Revolutionary War and has since disappeared, except for some earthen works.
But last Sunday, the FAA notified the Economic Development Committee that in moving the site of the tower even so slightly, it had come within the flight path of Green State Airport – across Narragansett Bay in Warwick. The FAA was not likely to approve the new location, the notice said.
On Monday, Talipsky said, he and others connected with the project revisited the original site, behind the high school tennis courts, which already had tentative approval from the FAA.
Talipsky and the others crawled through brush with a tape measure – something they had originally sought to avoid – to verify that there was adequate clearance between the tower and the water tank. (They had 15 feet to spare, he said.)
Then the group called the FAA.
The upshot from that conversation was that the application for the original location was still valid.
The agency is likely to signal its approval of a 336-foot tower at the original location within a few days of receiving the required engineering data verifying the height and the latitude and longitude of the tower, Talipsky said yesterday.
He said he hopes to have that data in to the FAA by Monday.
By Gina Macris
Journal Staff Writer
10 April 2008
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