MARION – A combination of strong abutter resistance coupled with added expense for the town has resulted in the Marion Alternative Energy Committee abandoning its proposal to place a large commercial wind turbine on Great Hill.
However, in abandoning the Great Hill turbine proposal on the Stone Estate, the town Alternative Energy Committee has decided to redirect its attention to the formerly abandoned wind turbine proposal on the Old Rochester Regional Junior and Senior High Schools complex.
Members of the Alternative Energy Committee voted at the committee’s March 28 meeting voted not to pursue further a turbine at Great Hill. The committee maintains that while the site provided an exceptional wind resource, they discovered that the town could not offer the owners of the land – the Stone family – indemnification and the needed insurance protection. Beyond that, abutter resistance, particularly that coming from Piney Point, whose homes would have faced the massive rotors, proved an immovable force. Various people potentially affected by the turbine offered up a series of objections and studies and data to back it up demonstrating possible negative health effects on nearby residents.
“It was also felt that the distance between nearby homes on Great Hill and the proposed turbine might be less than needed to protect them from shadow flicker and noise,” Marion Alternative Energy Committee Chairman Bill Saltonstall said. “Access to the site for the heavy equipment required to build and service the turbine was another determining factor.”
The committee plans further to study the feasibility of placing a turbine on land adjacent to the site of Old Rochester Regional High School.
“There is a possibility that a smaller turbine than the one proposed for Great Hill might be appropriate for the new location because of energy conservation measures that have already reduced electrical loads in some town facilities,” Saltonstall said. The primary goal of the project would be to provide clean renewable power for the Town of Marion’s public buildings and facilities and the ORR High School and Junior High School under a net metering agreement.
Both supporters and critics of the Great Hill project expressed approval for the overall goals of the Alternative Energy Committee and the hope that the committee would continue to explore energy alternatives including solar and the conservation measures inherent in becoming a Green Community under the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Act.
At its next public meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in the Marion Music Hall, the Alternative Energy Committee will host Seth Pickering, the Regional Coordinator for Southeastern Massachusetts, for a presentation and talk outlining the Green Communities designation and grant program. Pickering will explain how the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Division works with municipalities toward qualification as a Green Community and provides funding to qualified municipalities for energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.
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