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Quincy, Boston wind turbine proposal still being hashed out  

Credit:  By Jack Encarnacao, The Patriot Ledger, www.wickedlocal.com 1 December 2010 ~~

QUINCY – More than six months ago, Boston and Quincy announced a joint plan to build a 400-foot wind turbine on Moon Island, but officials from the two cities have yet to reach an agreement on how to share the resulting energy benefits.

In a pair of memos sent last month, a representative from Quincy’s planning department says Boston’s pending application for the turbine project is incomplete.

“I need to remind you that we have not yet had an initial informal meeting on the project,” reads a Nov. 22 memo written by Nicholas Verenis of the planning department’s economic development arm.

The memos, sent to the Boston Environment Department, indicate that a planned Dec. 8 public hearing on the project will be rescheduled for January because of the incomplete application.

James Hunt, Boston’s chief of environmental and energy services, said the city has moved at a pace agreeable to both sides.

“We’ve tried to proceed at the pace that the city of Quincy would like us to,” Hunt said. “We have geotechnical analysis, noise analysis, other technical reports completed by our consultants, and are continuing to work with the city to answer any and all questions. We want to move quickly.”

Christopher Walker, a spokesman for Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, said the key is reaching a formal agreement with Boston on how revenue and costs would be shared. Other outstanding issues concerning the project are “procedural for the most part,” he said.

The planning department memos list missing pieces of Boston’s turbine project application.

They include an archaeological survey, a survey of existing trees on the property, plans to replace trees displaced during construction, a certified list of abutters, payment of a $5,000 site-plan peer review fee, and written approval of the project from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Hunt said the information is forthcoming and that the project has already received FAA approval.

He said the aviation agency determined about a year ago that the proposed turbine would not be hazardous because it would be outside the path of flights to Logan Airport and would not require any alterations to the airport’s operations.

“That was one of the first approvals that was sought,” Hunt said. “It’s not worth expending a lot of resources on the project … if there’s going to be a show-stopper with the FAA.”

Boston needs Quincy’s approval to build the turbine because Moon Island, which is owned by Boston, is within Quincy’s city limits and can only be reached via Squantum.

Hunt said the plan is to connect the 1.65-megawatt turbine to the power grid. That would earn both cities credits on their utility bills.

The setup also would also allow the cities to sell renewable-energy credits to companies that need them to meet regulatory requirements.

Utility companies charge cities and towns permit fees to connect to the power grid. How Boston and Quincy would share those costs has yet to be determined, Hunt said.

Boston set aside $4.3 million in its current capital budget for the turbine project, Hunt said. The city is pursuing grants to offset the costs and has secured $400,000 so far, he said.

Source:  By Jack Encarnacao, The Patriot Ledger, www.wickedlocal.com 1 December 2010

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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