SUMNER – John Allen of the town Industrial Wind Ordinance Committee said at Thursday night’s meeting that townspeople need to understand the committee is working hard to create an ordinance that will protect resident and give the town the right to set the conditions for industrial wind development.
Allen indicated that too many people think that voting against an ordinance is a vote against wind power, while in reality adopting one is the only way they can regulate the development of projects in Sumner.
Clear Sky Energy LLC of Barnstable, Mass., has proposed erecting five wind turbines on Spruce Hills, which includes Mount Tom in the southwestern part of town.
Committee members expressed concern that their progress was not being adequately covered in the press. They discussed various ways, such as press releases and letters to the editor, to improve coverage.
The committee considered comments and suggestions presented by the public. One resident proposed that the ordinance include a provision requiring that any waivers or variances be put to a written ballot at a special town meeting. The committee decided to include this.
Selectman Mary Ann Haxton, who moderated the Aug. 18 committee meeting, said the only questions submitted from the public then that were not answered were too project specific to be appropriate.
Danny Perron said any member of the public could submit a question to a committee member and they would try to answer it.
There was concern that some anti-wind material had not yet been posted on the town website.
Haxton said she thought this was a matter of getting the material in the right format and she would look into it.
The economic subcommittee presented a draft of the section dealing with decommissioning. It specifically was concerned with the possibility that the owner/operator of the wind turbines might not stay in business for the entire projected life of the installation. It required an escrow account or performance bond adequate to dismantle the equipment and restore the site be in place from the beginning.
The proposed section also includes a requirement that the cost of decommissioning be periodically reviewed by a professional engineer and the escrow account or performance bond be appropriately adjusted.
Resident Walter Jasniewski presented a report that indicated that he thought most people at the Aug. 18 meeting thought that when the Clear Sky Energy LLC representative said people could get 5 percent off on their electricity cost he was talking about their total electric bill. In fact, he said, the possible 5 percent only applies to the power portion of the bill and not the CMP delivery charge, which can account for more than half of the bill.
According to Jasniewski’s calculations, a person using 100 kilowatt hours per month would save less than 50 cents.
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