I have sent the following questions to the Ipswich Board of Selectmen and town manager, which I feel need to be addressed, in writing, prior to the Oct. 17 Town Meeting regarding the second wind turbine. I feel that we cannot vote yes without answers to these important questions:
Please let me state that though I am for another wind turbine, there are numerous concerns that have been raised.
1.) There is incomplete data on the first turbine. This turbine has not been running long enough to provide accurate data as to the cost. How can you base projections of the second turbine on incomplete data from the first?
2.) Is it true that the first turbine is not producing the amount of power we were initially lead to believe it would?
3.) Have rates been set for the purchase of power for the second turbine? Are these rates the same we are paying now?
4.) If the second turbine does not produce the projected power amounts, will this affect our rates?
5.) The town spent a lot of money with the upgrades that were necessary to install the first turbine – i.e., power lines, shoring up the bridges on Town Farm Road, etc. Will D&C get use of the same power lines at no cost to them?
If the second turbine will not be using the new lines installed for the first turbine, will they be installing new ones? Who will pay for this? Can the new power lines installed be able to handle both turbines?
6.) There was damage to Town Farm Road from the heavy vehicles used for the delivery of the first turbine (near the first bridge). Will D&C be responsible for any damage to roads from bringing in the second turbine, as it is going to be larger and therefore weigh more?
7.) Will D&C be paying for the extras such as police details, etc., when the parts start arriving?
8.) Has anyone – engineers, selectmen, ConCom, etc. – spoken to any of the homeowners on Town Farm Road regarding the noise from the first turbine? Has a study been done on how the noise will increase with a second turbine?
9.) Has there been a study, pre-existing or done by D&C or the town, as to having two turbines so close together? It appears with the placement of the second turbine, and the most consistent wind direction, that the second turbine would be “stealing wind” as in sailing, from the first one. Is there a concern about turbulence?
10.) At the end of the lease, what happens to the turbine owned by D&C?
11.) What guarantees do we have that we will not be losing another $30,000 like we did on the first turbine?
12.) In today’s economy, with construction and development companies going out of business, and the economy, not just here in the U.S., but all over the world, not improving, what guarantees do we have that D&C will not go under in one, two or five years?
Is there a contingency plan in place should D&C be unable to fulfill the terms of its lease? Would we, the taxpayers, be forced to take out yet another bond and have to buy the turbine from D&C?
13.) Will the terms of the lease be provided for review by the townfolk prior to the Oct. 17 meeting?
All of the above questions have come from conversations taking place here in town.
I may have phrased these questions simply, as I am neither an engineer nor a financial wizard, but these are concerns here in town, no matter how they are worded.
Until the Board of Selectmen and town manager provide all of the above requested information, Article 12 should be removed from the Town Meeting warrant.
There is simply not enough data, transparency and disclosure for townfolk to make an educated and fully informed vote on this project.
If Turbine No. 1 is such a great deal for Ipswich, we should wait until all the data is in, and build it and own it ourselves.