At Monday’s meeting, Town Council members approved a Power Purchase Agreement with Wind Energy Development LLC of North Kingstown for the installation of a wind turbine project at the town-owned Picillo Farm in Western Coventry.
The 20-year agreement came after three bids were received by the town but rejected at the beginning of 2012, followed another that was accepted in February. A feasibility study was done determining that the construction of two wind turbines would closely match the electricity use of the town. Wind Energy Development will lease the land for $1 and will not be allowed to install more than two turbines on the property according to the agreement.
Council President Gary Cote and Councilman Kerry McGee explained that two well-attended and well-received meetings have been recently held for nearby residents, one at Greene Library and one at Western Coventry Fire Department.
“There was a lot of due diligence done on this before it was presented to the residents,” said Cote. “We also want people to remember that this will come at absolutely no cost to the town or taxpayers of Coventry. The developer assumes all of the risk on this.”
In one year, the two turbines would create eight megawatts of electricity – enough to power the town’s municipal and school buildings annually. The town would also be able to track exact energy costs for the duration of the agreement, after which the town may decide to renew or request that the turbines be removed.
“Both the town and school departments will benefit from the lower cost of this agreement,” said Cote. “This council is in the unique position to support this green project that will put any future council in a much better position than we’re sitting in because they will have exact electricity numbers.”
One change that was made in the contract stated that if a nearby communication tower needed to be removed, causing the turbines to be temporarily shut down for safety reasons, the town would be responsible for the cost incurred during the shutdown. This would only be in the case of a communication tower, nothing else.
Because the land is a hazardous waste site, part of the agreement also indicates that the hazardous waste to be cleaned up will only be from the time that the agreement is signed going forward.
“The land out there is now dead and there’s not a whole lot more you can do with it,” Cote went on to say. “We’ve found a way to generate revenue and create energy for Coventry. I think it’s a win-win for everybody across the board.”
Wind Energy Development will test and analyze the wind in the area for the next 12-18 months before construction begins.
Clean Water Finance Projects
The Council approved the following three clean water proposals that will be funded through Economic Development (EDA) and Rhode Island Clean Water Finance agency grants:
A proposed EDA sewer extension project for Flat River Road and Industrial Drive at an estimated cost $3,270,812 in EDA grant and financing from the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency.
A proposed sewer extension project to Town Hall, the Department of Public Works and the Town Hall Annex buildings at an estimated cost of $750,000 in financing from the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency.
A Contract Amendment #1 for a redesign of the Flat River Road and Industrial Drive Sewer Project and the extension of a sewer to the Town Hall, The Department of Public Works and the Town Hall Annex, by James J. Geremia & Associates, Inc. at an estimated extra cost of $42,788 as part of financing from the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency.
Pawtuxet River Riverbank Project
The award of a contract for the design of the Pawtuxet River Riverbank Project was also approved at Monday’s meeting. The proposal began in February when the Town of Coventry was notified of an available $3 million to remediate the river/seawalls, remove debris and stabzlise the tower in the Anthony and Concordia mills area. 13 engineers bid on the project and utimately Fuss & O’Neil Services was chosen for submitting the lowest proposal of $214,900 and for the fact that they have been in business for 80 years, have 13 offices in five states and have worked on over 500 water-based projects in the past.
“We were successful in getting the grant and convincing the two mill owners to come up with the 10% match required to move forward with the project,” said President Cote. “They both stepped up and came up with the money, making this another project at no cost to the taxpayers or the general fund.”
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