The Tiverton Town Council voted 7-0 at their Monday night meeting to schedule a Jan. 30 workshop with the nine towns that make up the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) to discuss the potential of a wind farm cooperative. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
On Tuesday, ecoRI reported that EBEC’s goal is to create a regional alternative energy source that make up its nine towns – Tiverton, Little Compton, Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport, Bristol, Warren, Barrington and East Providence – and ultimately share revenue from the sale of electricity.
EBEC is reportedly looking to install solar arrays as part of the project and is weighing its options on the price to buy electricity, either through National Grid or Rhode Island’s electricity distribution laws. In addition, the consortium is reportedly crafting legislation to become an independent government agency to potentially eliminate the project’s liability on the nine towns.
Tiverton is also looking at developing its 177 acres east of Route 24 into an industrial park, coinciding with the talks of a wind farm, in order to create a new revenue source for the town.
On Monday, Council Vice President Cecil Leonard said he has concerns on the infrastructure costs, such as installing sewer, water and data lines, for such an endeavor, and will address that at the workshop.
Last March, the town hired a firm to look into subdividing the industrial park in sizeable parcels to look attractive for future businesses. The parcel subdividing is being assisted by the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.
A constructed meteorlogical tower has been taking wind readings in the industrial park since last summer. About 1,000 Tiverton residents turned in wind energy surveys last summer which asked several general and specific questions on wind energy production. Of those that turned in the survey, the results show support in Tiverton for wind energy.
Engineers and members of EBEC approached the Tiverton Town Council in November, proposing 10, 80-foot turbines for an overall 20 to 25 megawatt system. He said the project will cost between $50 and $70 million, and produce a net return of about $23 to $40 million over the life of the project.
Last month, a Tiverton energy developer claimed a cooperative with the other eight East Bay towns could have a negative effect and, instead, suggested Tiverton work with a private developer.
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