Ipswich – A last-minute challenge to Wind Turbine II forced a lease modification for the land, but the turbine appears to be going forward.
Plans call for the turbine to be built at the end of Town Farm Road, next to Turbine I.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 31, the final agreements for Wind Turbine II have been signed and the provisions of the Selectmen’s special permit have been met.
“Everything will be a go,” said Utilities Director Tim Henry.
However, the Attorney General must still rule on the challenge to the bidding process, which says the town should have put the project out to bid again when it relocated the turbine to a parcel of land near the first proposed site.
On Monday, Jan. 30, the Selectmen signed a modified version of the land-lease agreement, allowing a private company to build the turbine on town-owned land, allowing the town to cancel the lease if the Attorney General rules the project must go out to bid again.
On Tuesday, Utilities Director Tim Henry, as electric light manager, signed the purchase power agreement and Wind Turbine II developer, D&C Construction of Rockland signed both documents.
D&C proposes erecting a Hyundai HQ20 MV wind turbine near Wind Turbine I on town-owned property at 180 Town Farm Road. The electricity generated will be sold to the Ipswich Electric Light Department.
According to the purchase power agreement, D&C will sell electricity to the town for $116 per megawatt hour or 11.6 cents a kilowatt-hour for the next 10 years. For the second 10 years, it will charge $70 a megawatt hour, or 7 cents a kilowatt-hour. That averages to 9.3 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is less than the 10.3 cents per kilowatt-hour Turbine I now charges.
A challenge to the Attorney General’s Office from a North Ridge Road resident caused the Board to postpone signing the land lease agreement at their Monday, Jan. 23, meeting until receiving advice from Town Council.
The challenge came from the Reydel family, 64 North Ridge Road.
John Reydel filed a complaint with the State Attorney General questioning the town’s procedure used to hire D&C to be the contractor. The complaint claims the town didn’t follow the correct bidding guidelines. When the town when switched sites for the turbine, a new request for proposals should have been triggered, the complaint said.
Reydel couldn’t be reached for comment.
At special permit hearings held by the Selectmen, Reydel was vocal in his complaints against the turbine.
At last Monday’s meeting, the Selectmen, acting on the advice of Town Council, signed a modified land-lease agreement that says the document can be cancelled if get the town gets an adverse opinion from the Attorney General.
The Selectmen could not wait to sign the agreement because a sunset clause in the Board’s special permit says the permit will lapse at midnight, Jan. 31 if the land lease and purchase power agreements are not signed.
Henry told the Selectmen that Town Council believes it will take about six weeks for the Attorney General to issue an opinion. Electric Light Committee member Jim Engel thought the complaint “had little substance.” Henry, however, wouldn’t go as far as saying it was a delaying tactic.
If the Attorney General agrees with the complaint, however, the town might have to do another RFP, said Henry and a new contractor could win the bid.
Henry told the Selectmen the changes in the lease have been gone over with D&C. The developer is not happy with the language saying it could have an adverse effect on the banks. D&C is also worried about losing federal grants, Henry said.
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