LENOX, Mass– The hum of wind along a stretch of Lenox Mountain screams opportunity for companies hoping to cash in on a proposal to build a wind turbine.
“I think it’s a terrible investment,” said Richard Taylor, a Lenox resident.
For Richard Taylor, any question of doing so does not make sense. He voiced his concerns Thursday during a meeting for the town’s Wind Energy Research Panel.
“I like the idea of energy independence, and of green energy, but you have to look at the deal. Just because you like it doesn’t mean you should spend any amount of money.. you should go into this your eyes open,” Taylor said.
That is the panel’s responsibility, deciding if a feasibility study issued last spring by Weston Solutions, a company biding to lead construction, is the best solution for tax payers.
“What do we do when we impact that mountain? The kind of clearing that’s necessary up there. The endangerment to our watershed area. The impact on homes,” said Kenneth Fowler, chairman of the board and member of the select board.
Those impacts are unknown. Nor has the panel figured how much an initial investment of building one, or two turbines would cost the town. According to Weston Solution’s study, the town would save $150 thousand a year in energy costs.
Money aside, living near a turbine could affect hearing.
“There’s decibel levels that need to be dealt with, and that could affect people’s health,” Fowler said.
Building along the mountain ridge would require roads to be widened, work that would be done near the town’s water reservoir. Bigger picture, with wind energy topping the governor’s agenda, local realtor’s fear turbines would drive down property values.
“It absolutely lowers [property values],” said Timothy Lovett, chief realtor for Berkshire Property Agents. “Our value here is our scenic quality and our environment.”
Concerns the panel must decide are valid before the town moves forward with the project.
They meet again on December 1st.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick wants to install 2 thousand megawatts of wind energy by 2020. The plan includes a bill that would make the permitting process for building wind turbines easier. Though, as our Brandon Walker explains, weighing the pros and cons of installing turbines has been a challenge for towns in Berkshire County.
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