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Brewster turbine project generates heated debate  

Credit:  By ROBERT GOLD, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 10 February 2011 ~~

BREWSTER – The town planning board listened to passionate debate for more than five hours Wednesday night about whether to approve two industrial wind turbines on town-owned land in an industrial park off Freeman’s Way.

The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative wants to spend $10 million to purchase and maintain two large turbines in town. They would stand 410 feet tall to the topmost blade. Revenue from a 20-year lease of the town-owned land as well as energy savings for power provided to municipal departments would total $3.6 million for the town over the full term of the lease, according to the electric cooperative.

The meeting extended beyond the Times’ press deadline.

According to Christopher Senie, an attorney representing Brewster residents opposed to the project, the hearing was closed and a workshop for town officials was scheduled for next Wednesday.

The electric cooperative formed to help municipalities overcome expenses involved in renewable energy projects.

Dozens of people spoke at Wednesday night’s public hearing, which was an extension of similar meetings held in November and December. Similar arguments heard at those meetings rang resoundingly through the hearing Wednesday night.

Critics worried that any consistent sound from the turbines and flicker effect could impact people’s sleep patterns and overall health. Many residents expressed concern that the turbines would lower their property values and drive tourists away.

Rick Judd, who said his family lives near the proposed turbines, said they were already considering whether to move if the turbines are installed. He equated any consistent noise to a dripping faucet. “Let that water drip for 20 years,” he said.

According to electric cooperative officials, only one resident lives within 1,800 feet of the proposed turbines. They argued the sound would be much lower than state and Brewster standards and would not cause any health problems or be a nuisance.

Senie argued the noise tests used by the electric cooperative were inadequate.

Supporters of the turbines argued they were essential to boosting clean energy in the area and getting rid of pollutants from other energy sources. Others said the money expected to be saved by the town could be used for municipal jobs and programs.

The exact model of the wind turbines has not been selected, according to electric cooperative officials.

Source:  By ROBERT GOLD, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 10 February 2011

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