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Bourne turbine review faces final public hearing Monday night

BOURNE – The Cape Cod Commission will conduct its final public hearing Monday night into New Generation Wind plans to construct four turbines off Scenic Highway and Route 25 north of the Cape Cod Canal.

A commission sub-committee has been receiving public testimony in favor of the proposed wind-farm and residents opposed to it. Members have been placed in a position of having to evaluate environmental and health-threat claims based on scientific studies posted on the Internet.

Abutters to the proposed turbines claim there will be noise and health issues to resolve and that their property values will be impacted by the wind farm. Proponents say there is no scientific evidence of health impacts and that flicker and fall-zone issues can be ameliorated.

The turbines would generate energy sold into the regional electric grid, and New Generation Wind is offering nearby homeowners an abatement on their monthly electric bills.

The project originally included seven turbines. Two were eliminated to resolve impacts with neighbors; one was nixed to avoid issues with Nstar. Four remain.

While the prospects of industrial grade turbines fitting community character dictates of the regional policy plan and passing muster with both the commission and Bourne Planning Board are too difficult to gauge yet, similar turbines are rising on the Massachusetts Military Reservation; one at Otis Air National Guard Base and two in the northern stretches of Camp Edwards near PAVE-PAWs. They dominate the canal-area vista.

The Patrick administration, meanwhile, has set a goal of having 2,000 megawatts of energy from wind by 2020; even as momentum gathers for a statewide moratorium on construction of industrial-grade turbines until their health impacts can be gauged.

The Bourne Board of Health, meanwhile, may adopt its own turbine-review regulation next week. It is based on health and environmental concerns and is the first local health board regulation in Massachusetts; even as New Generation Wind’s turbines represent the first land-based wind-farm proposal in the state.

There is varying legal opinion about whether any new health board regulation could be applied to review of New Generation turbines..

The Monday night hearing will be conducted at Upper Cape Tech High School off Sandwich Road, south of the canal.