Buzzards Bay cranberry grower Keith Mann is trying to pull together a deal that would allow him to build four wind turbines on bogs he owns in South Plymouth and sell the power to neighboring municipalities.
The turbines would be close to the Wareham line, visible from Head of the Bay Road and Route 25 and adding more spires to the landscape already dotted by turbines at nearby Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay and Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne. Two other turbines are located a little farther east on the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Sagamore.
Project manager Carlos Pineda said the turbines would have a hub height of 295 feet, 35 feet taller than the twin Fairhaven turbines. The blades would rise almost 160 feet above the hub.
The nearest residence would be 1,300 feet away, but there are no others within a half mile, Pindeqa said. The project ran into some initial opposition, he said, but “we’re clear of any appeals of the project.”
“We’re fully permitted and ready to go” and could be operational 10 months after financing is secured, Mann said. “We’re in discussion with banks and everybody is optimistic.”
In October, Plymouth Town Meeting fell just short of the two-thirds majority needed to impose a two-year moratorium on the construction of wind turbines. Mann said his company, Future Generation Wind LLC, already has 20-year agreements to sell power to the towns of Marion and Rochester and the Old Rochester Regional and Upper Cape school districts, while it continues to negotiate with Wareham and the Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical School District in Rochester.
Mann said the siting of the turbines in bogs and the use of a newer, less noisy technology should make the project less controversial than in Falmouth, where selectmen, after hearing noise complaints from nearby residents, have decided to tear down two municipally owned turbines. Town Meeting will consider the issue next month and it could end up being put before voters during the town election in May.
“We’re concerned about the issues in Falmouth, but that’s an older technology and the noise (there) is exponentially louder,” Mann said.
Future Generations plans to sell “net-metering credits” to local energy supplier NStar, which then would put those credits into the towns’ account and reduce their electric bills accordingly.
Mann said the deal with NStar has been sweetened since he originally pitched it, and Wareham could expect to save 27 percent of on its electricity bills, up from previous estimates of 24 percent. Over the course of a 20-year agreement and a potential five-year extension, Wareham could save $9 million, he said.
Selectmen seemed receptive to a brief presentation Mann made on Tuesday, but asked that several questions be clarified before they signed on. Town meeting must ratify any power agreement so, with the warrant for the spring meeting closing Tuesday, the issue might not be decided until the fall.
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