PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The state’s renewed look at wind siting regulations will return to the Berkshires on Jan. 27.
The Department of Public Utilities scheduled the hearing on Monday, Jan. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Berkshire Community College. The DPU has taken up the research into how to choose and permit the location of land-based wind energy facilities.
The DPU is leading this investigation that became a hot topic statewide in 2011, when Gov. Deval Patrick proposed a law that would create one group to permit all of the state’s wind-turbine projects. That law was opposed in the Berkshires because there are numerous wind sites identified in area and the statewide group could eliminate local control.
That bill never make it through the legislative process. Now, the DPU is particularly looking at land-based wind energy issues such as design, environmental and human health, safety, construction impacts, socio-economic impacts, decommissioning and the review process for wind projects.
In the end, the department will be crafting guidelines for permitting authorities to follow in handling proposed projects.
This most recent investigation includes the Department of Energy Resources, Clean Energy Center, Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Utilities.
The Berkshire Community College hearing is just one of five the group is holding across the state. The first hearing was on Thursday at Bunker Hill Community College; second on Monday at Mount Wachusett Community College; the third will be at Barnstable High School on Jan. 22; BCC hosts the fourth; and the public hearings conclude with Gloucester High School on Jan. 29.
If those unable able to attend, the DPU is accepting written comments until Feb. 4. That date was already extended from a proposed December deadline.
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