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Turbine plan not derailed  

Credit:  By JOHN APPLETON, The Republican, www.masslive.com 2 November 2010 ~~

BRIMFIELD – The failure by First Wind Energy LLC to draw the level investment hoped for with its equity stock offering last week will not change its approach on a proposed commercial wind farm for the top of West Mountain, a company spokesman said Friday.

“It doesn’t impact any of our development projects,” First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne said.

“We continue to maintain the same strategy that we have. We will pursue the path that we are on.” Lamontagne said.

The Boston-based First Wind, which operates seven wind farms and has four under construction, has proposed an installation of 10 wind turbines on the top of West Mountain, but has run into strong, organized opposition in town.

In September, the Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to reject the company’s offer of $30,000 to use in investigating the pros and cons of the project from the town’s perspective.

The vote came after a lengthy meeting where residents criticized the proposed project for its potential to bring annoying noise, flickering light, a dramatic change in scenic views if the turbines are installed.

Much of the opposition to this project has been coordinated by an organization formed a few months ago called No Brimfield Wind.

In addition to raising concerns about physical aspects of the wind farm proposal, members of the steering committee of No Brimfield Wind have raised questions about the finances of the company and its ability to maintain the turbines and eventually to remove or replace them.

The company released a statement after the failure of the initial public officer of stock to attract prices near what was being sought.

“While we received significant interest from potential investors during the marketing of our IPO, the terms that the IPO market was seeking at this time were not attractive to the company,” said Paul Gaynor, the chief executive officer of First Wind.

But Gaynor went on to say in the company press release that, “First Wind is well positioned to grow in its core markets. We have a successful track record developing, building, financing and operating our portfolio of projects in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii.”

David Carpenter, a member of the No Brimfield Wind steering committee, said he agrees that First Wind has the financial resources to continue its efforts for a Brimfield project even though the company was unable to attract investors at the price it was seeking for stock shares.

John L. Fearing, another No Brimfield Wind steering committee member, said the financial concerns his organization has been pointing out about First Wind’s ability to deal with more than $500 million in debt have been proven correct by the lack of investments last week.

“They were essentially given a thumbs down yesterday when they attempted to go public,” Fearing said.

Lamontagne said a professional opinion polling firm has been hired and has conducted telephone interviews with Brimfield residents over the past several weeks, soliciting opinions on the proposed wind farm project.

Source:  By JOHN APPLETON, The Republican, www.masslive.com 2 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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