First they say they do.
Then they say they don’t.
Now they say they will, again.
But will they say they won’t?
I actually woke up the other day with this little ditty running around in my head. That followed my reading of reporter Kathryn Gallerani’s update of the acoustic testing now set to include Kingston Wind Independence’s cooperation in the state Department of Environmental Protection study, after its management saying there would be no cooperation, citing concerns about testing methodology. The KWI folks say they still have concerns about flawed noise testing protocols, but that they are “fully cooperating with DEP to conduct acoustic monitoring.”
This, as the town was about to receive the flicker study from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (received Monday night). And next week selectmen will hear from Country Way resident Tim Dwyer on a privately funded study he cites as evidence that Mary O’Donnell’s three turbines are out of compliance with state noise regulations. O’Donnell said the study is bogus and not up to DEP standards. Dwyer said that position is “misguided and lacks credibility.”
Not to be punny, but this ongoing, swirling scenario can really make one’s head spin.
Now the town will hire an independent engineer to evaluate the flicker study – the numbers certainly raise eyebrows; it’ll be interesting to hear what everyone says on that. We posted the study report on Wicked Local Kingston, and a lot of people will read it and weigh in on their takes over the coming weeks. And once the acoustic study is done and evaluated, the town will find, finally, the ball firmly in its court. Then, what to do, that is the question.
To some, it will be clear; to others, not so. There’s a lot at stake (to point out the obvious), for turbine operators, for affected residents and for the town as it has striven to emerge early and proactively in the municipal quest to play a dynamic role in the greening of America.
We’re hearing of calls to discuss the future of green-energy subsidies, those government incentives to invest in green technology. Some folks say it’s time to bring those subsidies down, that the taxpayer cost of subsidies must be weighed significantly against the intended benefits. Some say the benefit of growing independence from foreign oil is worth the investment.
If you’re interested in where we are now with incentives, here is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, by the U.S. Department of Energy (www.dsireusa.org/). It lists state and federal subsidies and tax incentives available. Will these change? Inevitably; everything does. In what direction? We don’t know yet.
What we do know here in Kingston is that the town has nobly chosen to be an early leader in municipal green-energy advocacy and activism, and now we’re seeing some unintended consequences of the results so far. This will take time to play out. The topic is confusing, and resolution will be challenging. Let’s hope the discussion is well intended and balanced and that proposed solutions are as reasonable as possible – whatever that means. It’s up to the town to figure that out.
Scott C. Smith is GateHouse Media’s senior managing editor based in the Plymouth newsroom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @scsmithreporter.
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