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West Hill turbines on track  

SAVOY – Plans are still on track for construction of five, 2.5-megawatt wind turbines on West Hill, according to Don McCauley, president of the Framingham-based Minuteman Wind.

Voters approved a zoning bylaw that would allow the project in January. Since then, the Attorney General’s office approved the bylaw and according to Jane Phinney, town clerk, the new bylaw was posted last week.

“The new law says that he’ll have to apply for a special permit from the town,” she said.

McCauley said he is working on the permit application and expects to file for the permit at some point this summer.

The wind farm will go up on a 290-acre site owned by Harold Malloy at an estimated cost of about $22 million. Minuteman Wind has proposed making a payment in lieu of taxes to the town of about $220,000 per year, which is still subject to negotiation.

McCauley anticipates construction will start in 2010.

“Right now, we’re working on the special permit and all the other aspects of the project,” he said.

McCauley added that he is aware litigation might become a factor in the development phase – a project in neighboring Florida is hung up in court due to opponents’ challenges – and the availability of turbines might also be an issue, as demand is increasing.

“We don’t know what opposition will appear after we apply for permits,” he said. “But we’re being very careful with our planning to minimize the chances of that.”

During a Jan. 3 special town meeting, Savoy residents supported the zoning bylaw, with increases in the distance between turbines from 11/2 times the height of the tower to 21/2 times the height, by a vote of 155-56.

By Scott Stafford, Berkshire Eagle Staff

berkshireeagle.com

5 May 2008

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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