TIVERTON – The town is hoping to make sparks fly with its own wind farm sometime in the next few years.
Apex Clean Energy, an energy generating company based in Charlottesville, Va., showed the Town Council preliminary plans for a wind farm of six to eight turbines that would produce about 24 megawatts of energy on land owned by the North Tiverton and Stonebridge Fire Districts.
The two fire districts, which provide drinking water to the north end of the town, own several parcels of land adjacent to the industrial park that have been identified as a good site for a wind farm.
The site is immediately beside a gas-fired electrical generating plant and a high-tension power line, so it would make it economically feasible to connect wind turbines to the electrical grid, studies showed.
There also is consistently strong wind on those ridges, weather studies have shown.
The East Bay Energy Consortium was founded by nine East Bay towns to come up with a wind energy project that would be pushed and financed by all nine towns. Tiverton was identified as the best site for the wind farm, according to Garry Plunkett, the Tiverton representative on EBEC.
The EBEC effort stalled in 2012 and is all but dead, Plunkett told the Town Council – but Chris Swartley of Apex Clean Energy, which had been a consultant for EBEC, told the council Tiverton could go it alone with a wind farm.
Both fire districts support the wind farm proposal, according to Paul Northrup, treasurer of the North Tiverton Fire District.
The lease payments for the use of the land would help underwrite the cost of providing water for the town, Northrup said. He also cited a 20-year-old consultant’s study, which predicted that a glut of industrial land and the rugged topography of the fire district land would make that land costly to develop for industry.
Town councilors said they would want several more meetings with Apex and other clean-energy developers before making a decision on the wind farm plans.
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