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Cost of shutting down turbines  

Credit:  Falmouth Enterprise, 18 October 2011 ~~

I have a few comments related to last Friday’s turbine impact article. In a press release from the DPW on December 8, 2010, the expected revenue (NStar and Renewable Energy Certificates) from the turbines was $880,000. Now it is $975,000. The cost for debt service, maintenance, and insurance for Wind 1 was $363,000. Now the debt service alone is $524,000.

Every time wind turbine dollars are reported, they are different. Why don’t these figures agree?

There was also a discussion regarding the stimulus grant, and the REC contracts. Town counsel is apparently looking into these contracts to see what would happen if the town decided to remove the turbines.

Frankly, I’m surprised that the town doesn’t know the answer to this question yet. It’s been over a year since the appeals and lawsuits started.

While this is a very important is- sue that needs to be answered, it’s really not relevant to Article 9. Mr. Funfar has not asked to have the turbines removed. He
asked for them to be shut down so neighbors can have some peace and quiet while the town finds answers to the many questions being raised.

We will have the opportunity to revisit this issue at the Spring Town Meeting. Hopefully there will be some answers by then. So the question today is: How much will it cost to shut the turbines down for six months? Let me point out that the revenue figures above assume that the turbines are fully operational. They are not! Wind 1 is currently operating with a 10 m/s curtailment (which the neighbors greatly appreciate). Wind 2 has not begun operation because NStar has insisted that a special switch be installed, which will allow them to shut down the turbine remotely. Apparently, the “grid” can’t handle the power from three industrial turbines running in a strong wind. The noise study from Harris Miller Miller & Hanson suggested limiting one of the turbines in low winds to avoid exceeding the MassDEP noise criteria.

So even under the best circumstances, the turbines will not be producing the expected revenue mentioned above. Let’s assume both turbines are running with the limitations above, and that reduces the revenue by one-third to $650,000. Divide that by two, or $325,000 for six months. Using the “Tax Impact Tool” calculator on the tax assessor’s page, the cost for an average $400,000 home is $11.75.

I spend more than that on coffee in a day. It seems like a small cost to pay to give the affected neighbors some peace and quiet until town and state officials can figure this mess out.

Todd A. Drummey
Blacksmith Shop Road
West Falmouth

Source:  Falmouth Enterprise, 18 October 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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