DENNIS – Town and Dennis Water District officials are looking into installing two wind turbines on water district property off Airline Road.
At 400 feet at the top of the blades, the turbines would be taller than a wind tower proposed by Aquaculture Research Corp. near Chapin Memorial Beach. The ARC turbine would be 242 feet at the top of the blades.
But like the ARC proposal, the turbines proposed for the water district would require approval from the Old King’s Highway District Commission, which has jurisdiction over all land in town north of Route 6.
While the Dennis historic district panel approved the ARC turbine, that decision was overturned by the district’s regional appeals committee. ARC is appealing the rejection in Orleans District Court, and the town has signed on to the case as an intervenor, which enables it to submit a brief siding with the shellfish company.
A feasibility study by the board of water commissioners determined two turbines could fit on the 330 acres of water district land.
The state Legislature would have to pass a special act to allow wind energy to be produced on land set aside for the water district.
“Right now, there’s just discussions,” said David Larkowski, superintendent of the Dennis Water District. He referred to the Old King’s Highway District Commission as one of the “hurdles” for the project.
The plan is for turbines to eventually supply all water district and town electricity needs.
“We could potentially save millions,” Selectman Wayne Bergeron said.
Smaller turbines would not be as cost efficient, Larkowski said. He estimated the cost of each proposed turbine at about $4 million.
The turbines would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and water district voters, among others.
“We need to get special legislation to allow us to build a wind turbine on our watershed property,” Larkowski said.
Water district voters will be asked at the district’s April 26 annual meeting for permission to request legislation to allow the turbines and the production of wind energy.
Peter Lomenzo, chairman of both the local Dennis committee of Old Kings Highway and the regional appeals board of Old Kings Highway, said he’s been hearing talk about turbines being proposed for water district property “for quite some time.”
Each application is viewed on its own merits, he said. “The rules are set up to get a fair hearing.”
At least one Brewster resident is already opposed to the prospect of giant wind turbines on the water district property.
Skye Green of Brewster said the proposed turbines are located too close to Brewster residential areas.
According to plans Green has seen, her property line in the Belmont Park subdivision would be about 1,600 feet from one of the turbines, she said.
Green said the proposed turbines would be a “significant” addition to the area’s landscape, where people walk, horseback ride and play with their children.
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