MARION – Part I of a two-part discussion of the Great Hill Wind Turbine proposal
About 60 residents turned out for a Marion Alternative Energy Committee for a two-hour meeting Monday night .at Marion Music Hall By the time the meeting ended, both sides were complaining that the other side was not hearing them.
Despite a long explanation delivered by Marion Alternative Energy Committee member Bill Saltonstall that nothing was going happened until all the studies were in and Town Meeting approved, residents of Piney Point and the Delano Road area remained mostly resistant to placing a large turbine the Great Hill estate, saying it will cause health problems for those living in close proximity, noise issues, devalue their properties and obscure their views of a beautiful seascape.
“We have not yet received the final edit of the Great Hill Feasibility Study, but we have been advised that it should be in our hands soon,” Saltonstall said. “Earlier versions have determined that Great Hills Wind resource is very good for our area, averaging 6.24 meters per second (14 mph) at a 50-meter height.”
Saltonstall went on to say that the study indicates a larger turbine offers much more efficient performance than the smaller units, like the ones at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Portsmouth Abbey School.
Proponents of the large power station say erecting the wind power station will allow the town to take care of all of its energy needs, and even provide a revenue source by selling surplus electricity. Saltonstall said the study says a Vestas 1.8 MW V90 turbine can provide more than enough power for all town buildings ad facilities. He said the 2008 Massachusetts Green Communities allows the town to sell its surplus power to others by remote net metering arrangements.
He said the town has requested proposals from acoustical engineers to conduct an acoustical study. He acknowledged that “shadow flicker” from the turbine is also a problem. This may be an issue for homes closest to the rotors on the turbines, but also suggested that trees and topography blunt the shadows caused by flicker at certain times of the day, he said.
“Just a few days ago we received the spread sheets, which are the basis for the impressive financial data printed in the feasibility study,” Saltonstall, a retired architect, said. “The annual energy produced by the recommended turbine is 6075 megawatts, and the spreadsheet shows that the annual value of that power produced minus the operating expenses and debt service equal a positive cash flow of $578,440 in the cash flow builds to $1,339,166, and in year 20 it is $1,627,080.”
Saltonstall pointed out to the anxious crowd that the project can only proceed if Great Hill makes the site available.
“We entered into our study with Great Hill’s friendly cooperation,” Saltonstall said. “We have shared wind data, site concerns, and met in public meetings for several years. If Great Hill continues to work with us, they will negotiate a lease agreement with the town that covers the rent, access, safety provision, site planning and more. Both we and Great Hill are looking to experts in the field and experience of others who live in similar projects for helpful, unbiased information.”
However, many in the small fire-placed front room of Marion Music Hall came armed with all sorts of technical and environment, economic, and health data with regard to placing wind turbines in residential areas. Virtually none of it helped the cause of the Alternative Energy Committee.
For a detailed account of abutters concerns, please read next week’s edition of The Sentinel and check www.wickedlocalmarion.com.
The next meeting will be a South Coast Wind Turbine Collaborative meeting to be held at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 28, in Marion Music Hall, 164 Front St. Daniel Webb, manager and owner of the wind turbine in Technology Park in Falmouth, a principle in Notus Clean Energy, LLC, will speak on the funding construction and operation of his turbine.
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