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Falmouth turbine panel reports its findings  

If run with no curtailment, the town-owned Wind 1 and Wind 2 turbines would generate a total of about 7,513 megawatt hours per year, and would net an estimated $1.9 million in revenue within five years. But that number does not take into account costs the town may incur if it purchased homes or provided financial restitution to neighbors who claimed the turbines harm their health. Curtailing operation between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. could alleviate some neighbors' concerns about sleep loss they blame on the turbines, while still avoiding a net financial loss for the town, the report said. However, a continuation of the current policy of shutting the turbines off between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. could cause a five-year revenue loss of between $672,000 and $1.3 million.

Credit:  By SEAN TEEHAN | Cape Cod Times | January 19, 2013 | www.capecodonline.com ~~

FALMOUTH – The ball is now in the selectmen’s court after they received a report from the panel charged with finding options to mitigate complaints related to wind turbines.

After meeting 25 times over eight months, members of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Analysis Process met Friday with selectmen, who listened to an overview of the panel’s 55-page report.

“The group has put in a tremendous amount of work on a very difficult issue,” Stacie Smith of the Consensus Building Institute said at the evening meeting at Falmouth Public Library’s Hermann Foundation Room.

The full board of selectmen along with Town Manager Julian Suso and Assistant Town Manager Heather Harper sat at a table across from panel members at the room’s front. About 20 residents came to the meeting.

In her presentation, Smith – who was hired to facilitate the process – outlined three options the panel presented to the board: run the turbines without curtailment; curtail turbine operation; or replace the turbines with solar panels. The panel did not recommend which of the three options selectmen should pursue.

If run with no curtailment, the town-owned Wind 1 and Wind 2 turbines would generate a total of about 7,513 megawatt hours per year, and would net an estimated $1.9 million in revenue within five years. But that number does not take into account costs the town may incur if it purchased homes or provided financial restitution to neighbors who claimed the turbines harm their health.

Curtailing operation between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. could alleviate some neighbors’ concerns about sleep loss they blame on the turbines, while still avoiding a net financial loss for the town, the report said. However, a continuation of the current policy of shutting the turbines off between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. could cause a five-year revenue loss of between $672,000 and $1.3 million.

Replacing the turbines with solar panels would result in the town’s loss of about $1.6 million over five years, with the panels generating about 2,400 megawatt-hours per year. The town would need $3.9 million from an outside funding source – such as the state – to pursue that option without losing revenue, the report said.

“It’s virtually impossible to appease all,” said Selectman Kevin Murphy, board chairman, after the presentation. “There’s going to have to be give and take on both sides.”

Murphy said selectmen will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to take public comment related to the report. Selectmen will then deliberate on their options – which are not limited to those suggested by the panel.

They will attempt to submit an article for a turbine mitigation plan to April’s town meeting warrant by Feb. 4, Murphy said.

The turbine analysis process, which was funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, cost a total of $388,000, according that organization’s figures.

Source:  By SEAN TEEHAN | Cape Cod Times | January 19, 2013 | www.capecodonline.com

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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