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Wind turbines and Town Meeting recommendations

The Finance Committee’s meeting recommendations on Town Meeting articles leaves this reader to wonder, was there any discussion of the amount requested, or the recommendation to support Article 30?

The Department of Public Works is asking for “a sum of money” for FY2012 to help run Wind 1 & 2. How much money? Is funding Article 30 vital to operations? Maybe I am missing something as the pounding of the turbine has kept me up most nights this weekend, but the article is confusing, and I had hoped committee discussion would clarify.

Article 9 is non-binding. Asking for more money to run town turbines, after it has become a 17-month source of community controversy, just might be tied to one article’s success and the other’s defeat. Each article’s outcome impacts the other’s respective intention.

The comment “I think it’ll be a good one” by Mr. Ripley, referring to town meeting, is an understatement. This is why Town Meeting still holds a certain, everlasting appeal. Town Meeting Members hold the “purse-strings” and this, indeed, will be binding!

The accounting of what the town stands to lose if Article 9 should pass, was misleading. The projection figures used, imply Wind 1’s permanent stoppage. Article 9 stipulates a suspension of operation only until certain provisions are met. The outcome of which, are to be examined in six months at the spring 2012 town meeting (or possibly earlier dependent upon State and Local politics).

It’s true that Falmouth signed all contracts agreeing to pay money back if they didn’t deliver Renewable Energy Credits to MA Clean Energy Center (MCEC), to pay money back on debt services, etc.

Has there been any discussion by the Finance Committee about MCEC’s (formally Mass Technology Collaborative) liability? Weren’t they Co-Sponsor of the Falmouth Wind Energy Project? Wasn’t it MCEC who sold Wind 1 to Falmouth? Wasn’t WIND 1 MCEC’s ‘Flagship’ industrial wind turbine ‘Trophy’ for Cape Cod? Didn’t MCEC chaperone all first phase site studies and energy surveys, indicating to the town “it was a wonderfully bully project”? Wasn’t it MCEC expertise, consultation and assurances that Falmouth officials relied upon when Town Meeting voted to move ahead with project funding, and in-turn, agreed to the repayment clause of the contract for Renewable Energy Credits?

Currently, there’s a State comprised expert panel examining wind turbine health effect. Today (18th) on Beacon Hill, there’s a State public hearing on five (5) separate bills urging further health examination of effect from wind turbines.

Maybe the Finance Committee should be discussing MCEC putting some (taxpayer) money back where their Co-Sponsorship mouth was? It’s certainly a valid consideration making for an easier pill to swallow, until more health related, rather than financial, FACTS are uncovered.

A more accurate point of finance discussion at Town Meeting should be—what’s the 6 month price tag value of a neighbor’s health?

Mark J. Cool

Fire Tower Rd.