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HDC approves landfill turbine

Plans for a 298-foot wind turbine proposed by the town at the Madaket landfill were approved by the Historic District Commission last month, but the project still has a long, uncertain road ahead.

Nantucket residents will have to wait until 2012 for an up-or-down vote on the wind turbine project, when Town Meeting will be asked to approve an estimated $3.5 million appropriation to fund the project.

Between now and then, proponents hope to secure other state and local permits for the turbine, and conduct a public outreach effort to educate island residents about the proposal.
Assistant town manager Gregg Tivnan said the plans will now head to the Massachusetts Historical Commission in Boston, as well as the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals for local permits.

“The HDC was the big one,” he said, “because they are the ones who approve the height and scope of what we could do.”

Members of the HDC voted 3-1 last month to approve the plans, with John McLaughlin opposed and Kevin Kuester abstaining, according to meeting minutes.

The proposed 900 kilowatt turbine is nearly double the size of the Northwind 100 model currently operating at Nantucket High School, and town leaders hope it will generate enough power to offset the huge electricity demand at the municipal landfill.

The proposal is scaled back from the town’s original plans for a massive 465-foot tall, 1.5 megawatt turbine, or two 900 kilowatt turbines that the Energy Study Committee had hoped to pursue.

The central reason behind the reduction in the scale of the project is a strict limit on the eligibility of the island’s renewable energy projects for National Grid’s net metering program.

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