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Quincy Planning board to delay discussion of Moon Island Wind Turbine  

Credit:  By Jessica Bartlett, Town Correspondent, Globe Staff, boston.com 12 September 2011 ~~

The $4.3 million Moon Island Wind Turbine project is making slow but continual progress after a printing error caused a delay with a review of the project.

The development has delayed what Quincy officials expect will be a long and complicated process in getting the 400-foot structure built on the Boston-owned Moon Island, a 44-acre stretch of land that is only accessible through Quincy and sits within Quincy’s borders.

As a result, Quincy’s Planning Board will wait to hear a discussion of the turbine, scheduled for this Wednesday, in October or early November.

It’s only one of the steps for the two cities to begin the joint venture to bring more wind energy to the metropolitan area.

Currently, officials say, it’s a waiting game. In addition to waiting on a peer review, Quincy officials are also waiting on final design plans for the turbine from the city of Boston.

Quincy and Boston officials also have yet to work out the answers to dozens of vital questions, everything from accessing the land and bringing the materials to the designated spot, to figuring out how to retrieve the energy from the island once it’s produced.

“There are a lot of issues. This is a multi-million device, and very few [turbines like this] have ever been built in the commonwealth,” said Quincy Planning Director Dennis Harrington.

Harrington said he would have a better grasp of the timeline for the project once the peer review of the energy plan and site plan come in, yet even then, the end is far off.

Following the peer review will be an in-depth permitting process for the turbine, which is expected to be placed in the northernmost tip of the island.

It’s not surprising that the project is coming together as slowly as it is, Harrington said. After all, the turbine will be one of the few in the area, and will be one of the largest structures in the city.

“This is a large energy device, over 400 feet high, about a 40 story building. Needless to say, we don’t have too many 40-story buildings in the city of Quincy,” Harrington said. “We have some radio towers at 700 feet, but this wind device will be one of the largest structures in the city.”

In addition to a height variance, the project will also have to seek a building permit.

“There will be all sorts of affidavits and structural engineers involved for a structure of this size. The whole integrity of it [will be assessed]; there will be a significant building permit process. Then there are all the permits that might be necessary for modifications for the power grid from Moon Island back to the Squantum peninsula,” Harrington said.

Additionally, the city is still working out how to handle the cost of the structure as well as split the energy savings.

Quincy officials recognized in February that the savings would not be an even split, as the land is, in all actuality, owned by the city of Boston.

“It was never the intention of the city to do an even split,” Mayoral spokesperson Christopher Walker said. “It’s their land, they own it. All things being equal, they would have proposed the project on its own. But we had talks with them and they were amendable to coming up with a partnership.”

Although nothing is yet final, Harrington said discussions were still leaning in that general direction.

“It’s been an open discussion of the city floating some bonds to pay for some portion of the $4 million cost, 50 percent maybe. I heard the number $2 million. And Quincy [will have] a share of the energy savings or excess energy, but I didn’t hear that [the savings would be] 50/50. I heard more 75/25, but those are all preliminary discussions,” Harrington said.

Harrington said the Planning Board would discuss an overview of the project at this week’s meeting. Any further developments would most likely happen once the peer review comes to light this fall, he said.

Source:  By Jessica Bartlett, Town Correspondent, Globe Staff, boston.com 12 September 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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