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Hot debate expected on Falmouth wind turbine article  

Credit:  By Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 3 April 2012 ~~

FALMOUTH – One of the more controversial articles on Falmouth’s warrant, one that would extend the curtailment of town-owned wind turbines, is scheduled for discussion tonight.

The item, Article 23, filed by Barry Funfar and others, would limit the operational hours of Falmouth’s Wind 1 and Wind 2 turbines until November’s town meeting, “at which time concerns for both turbines can be addressed in the context of studies and mitigation options,” the article said.

Article 23 is the second item up for discussion tonight. Town meeting is scheduled to resume at 7 tonight in the Lawrence School auditorium.

“We’re still working this all out,” said board of selectmen Chairwoman Mary Pat Flynn. She said the board recommended the article be postponed indefinitely because mitigation options are still being explored.

Groups of people standing outside the Lawrence School with signs supporting the article before the first night of Falmouth’s annual town meeting Monday night gave the parking lot the appearance of a polling place.

When the Wind 1 turbine was operational, some abutters complained the 1.65-megawatt turbine, located at the town’s wastewater treatment plant, caused health problems such as migraines and vertigo. Wind 2 is also at the wastewater treatment plant, but farther from Blacksmith Shop Road.

Advocates against the turbines struck a deal with selectmen last November, when the board agreed to shut down Wind 1, and temporarily operate Wind 2.

Wind 2’s operation, which started near the beginning of February, set out to test alleged negative effects on abutters in a 60-day trial. In its first 30 days, the turbine was spun without any curtailment. In the second 30 days it adheres to the same restrictions the selectmen put on Wind 1 in February 2011, which include shutting down the turbine when wind speeds reach 23 mph.

Town officials have logged complaints during the 60 days. Residents may send their comments to falmouthwind@gmail.com.

A draft statement of principles from selectmen dated March 23 lists several possible options to placate abutters of the turbines, including changing the speeds at which the turbines shut off. One option listed, shutting down Wind 1 between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day, would cost the town about $88,000 annually in generated electricity, Flynn said.

The statement also said that any plan would be responsive to Falmouth’s need to generate $624,000 in electricity necessary to cover operating costs in the next fiscal year.

Source:  By Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 3 April 2012

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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