WESTERLY – Bradford residents won’t have to travel far to learn about a wind turbine project planned for their part of the town.
The Town Council has scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bradford Citizens Club, 124 Woody Hill Road. Later in the evening, the Town Council will reconvene at Town Hall to consider a proposed power purchase agreement between the town and Wind Energy Development LLC, the North Kingstown company that wants to erect two 450-foot tall turbines – one at the Bradford Preserve, and one off of Old Carriage Road on land owned by the town’s water department.
The company has said it needs an approved power purchase agreement before it can proceed with tests of the Bradford sites to determine the exact volume of wind, how much noise the turbines could generate and how much “shadow flicker” will be produced. The company also needs a signed agreement, company officials have said, to secure private funding for the project.
Diana Serra, Town Council president, said she arranged for an informational meeting in Bradford after residents expressed concern about the project when the council conducted a site visit on June 13. Residents of Bradford have said the village is too small and densely populated for wind turbines.
The council also voted to hire a lawyer with expertise in environmental law to review the proposed agreement between the town and the company.
Wind Energy Development was selected by the Town Council to serve as a green energy partner to develop a wind energy program in the town. Under terms of the proposed agreement, the company would sell the town power at a rate it has promised would be lower than if the town continued to pay National Grid for electricity.
The agreement is based on the town’s current consumption of 9 million kilowatt-hours per year. A proposed rate schedule calls for the town to be charged 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first three years of the agreement. The rate would then increase incrementally to about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour in year 20 of the agreement.
The proposed agreement also provides for a breakup fee that Wind Energy Development could charge the town should the town decide to pull out of the project after signing the agreement. The fee, which has not been specified, would not be assessed if the project fails to gain necessary approvals from local land use officials or from state and federal officials, the company has said.
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