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North Stonington eyes wind farm

North Stonington – The town is considering a proposal to build a six-turbine wind farm to help usher alternative energy forms into the state.

The startup consulting company Green Machine Bio is considering several sites throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island, including two in Stonington. But the proposal to build in North Stonington is the most concrete one so far because the site’s owners and the town seem to be embracing the idea, Green Machine Bio developer Bill Green said.

Green and colleague Jack Johannemann, a North Stonington resident, presented their plans to the Board of Selectmen last week.

A best-case scenario outcome would generate the equivalent of the power used in about 90 percent of the homes in town and provide revenue by selling the energy to the highest bidder.

”I think it has merit, and I would love to see it in town,” First Selectman Nicholas H. Mullane II said.

The wind farm, according to the current plan, calls for six 1.5-megawatt turbines to be set on about 30 acres of farmland to be leased on Wintechog Hill Road. The turbines would be about 2,000 feet from that road and about 200 feet above Route 2. The remaining 130 acres would remain farmland.

Emery Nemeskay, who owns the property cited in the proposal, declined to comment because nothing has been finalized.

The proposal would require a number of studies and approvals before construction, including a wind study, access road review and archaeological survey. An environmental study was completed by a past potential developer.

Required approvals include the state’s Siting Council, Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Public Utility Control, Johannemann said.

If everything unfolded according to plan, the wind farm could be operational in two to two-and-a-half years, Green said.

The town is midway through a nine-month zoning moratorium to rewrite regulations, so Green and Johannemann are working with zoning officials to help make sure there are appropriate regulations in place to address the project. Zoning regulations are often unequipped to deal with such projects even as municipalities are eager to tackle them, Green said.

”They’re all going, ‘Yes, we have to do it,’ but they’re all trying to figure out how to do it,” Green said.

By Kira Goldenberg

theday.com

29 June 2008