TIVERTON – The Town Council unanimously approved a motion of support Monday night for a project calling for multiple land-based wind turbines in Tiverton.
The support does not contractually obligate the town to move forward with the project. This was the first step in what promises to be a lengthy approval process.
Garry Plunkett, Tiverton’s representative to the East Bay Energy Consortium and Daniel Mendelsohn, principal for Applied Science Advocates, the group responsible for conducting the feasibility study, spoke about the project to the council and residents at the special meeting held at Town Hall.
“We needed some interim approval that says the town is in favor of proceeding,” said Plunkett.
The next step involves erecting a meterological tower and collecting one year’s worth of data. With assistance from Applied Science Advocates, the consortium now must sift through data and come up with more accurate revenue estimates, develop financing options including pursuing grant money for green projects, establish a legal framework for ownership of the turbines and come up with an agreeable revenue-sharing formula.
The current proposal calls for somewhere between 8 and 10 turbines, ranging from 80 to 100 meters tall. Each turbine would generate 2.5 megawatts of power which will be sold back to the electric power grid. Four of the turbines would be located at the Tiverton Industrial Park, the remainder will be located on property currently owned by the Stonebridge Water District.
The cost of the project is anticipated to fall somewhere between $53.9 and $68 million dollars. Should the East Bay Energy Consortium own the turbines, the net profit is estimated at $23 to $39 million over 20 years. Tiverton would receive an additional stipend of $100,000 per year for housing the turbines.
Plunkett said Tiverton received high marks during the initial phase of the feasibility study because of the strong winds coming off of the Sakonnet River, ample land to place the wind turbines on and the ability to connect to the electric power grid.
Council President Donald Bollin said the town must make sure it is properly compensated for its role in the project.
“Taking 40 acres out of the park is 40 acres we are not able to sell,” said Bollin. “We are not getting any tax revenue on the structure.”
Councilor Louise Durfee emphasized that the endorsement does not commit the town to move forward on the project without economic and environmental concerns being addressed. Noise and safety are chief among the council’s concerns.
“The project has a great deal of merit,” said Durfee. “The compensation issue is very real. Tiverton’s bargaining power is now.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding