The Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative has been urging Barnstable County towns to sign 20-year agreements called power purchase agreements that commit them as “off-takers” of electricity produced by a wind energy facility being proposed by a private operator in Plymouth, right on the border with Bourne.
CVEC says the project, called Future Generation Wind, is “safe” and “well-sited” because it is on a 385-acre cranberry farm – implying that no one is close enough to be adversely affected.
In fact, the opposite is true, for the following reasons:
• Future Generation Wind proposes to install four massive 2-megawatt wind turbines, much larger than the two 1.65-megawatt wind turbines that have caused such misery in Falmouth. If constructed, they will be the largest wind turbines ever erected in Massachusetts.
• There are too many homes as close to the project site, or closer, than the affected homes in Falmouth are to its two disputed turbines. Hundreds of people live too close.
• A judge in Superior Court last year upheld Falmouth residents’ complaints that wind turbine noise there constituted an intolerable nuisance that was causing “irreparable harm” to plaintiffs and ordered an immediate injunction to curtail operations.
• The Falmouth experience is not unique. Residents in at least 21 communities in Massachusetts (and hundreds of locations all over the world) have reported significant health problems as a result of living too close to wind turbines – including sleep disruption and deprivation, headache, ear pressure, dizziness, nausea, problems with concentration and memory, fast heart rate and panic episodes.
• The Future Generation Wind project would violate provisions of a Barnstable County ordinance enacted by the Barnstable County Commission and Assembly of Delegates in 2011 to protect residents of Cape Cod from the injurious effects of wind turbine noise. This ordinance. which has the force of law. requires industrial wind turbines be sited farther from the property line of the nearest neighbor than the proposed Plymouth wind turbines will be sited.
CVEC is thus providing false assurances that the project is safe – even though this project would not be permitted on Cape Cod.
Two government bodies on Cape Cod have agreed to move forward with the CVEC “bargain” – Brewster and Barnstable County. In Brewster, this is happening even though the Planning Board rejected a similar but much smaller wind turbine proposal in 2011 because of its profound concern over the many adverse impacts. In Barnstable County, the commissioners (our executive branch of county government) had previously approved the county ordinance to protect the residents of Cape Cod.
Furthermore, the county commissioners did not bother to consult with, or inform, the Assembly of Delegates (our legislative branch of county government) regarding the power purchase agreement – even though the commissioners are keenly aware that wind turbine projects had previously been rejected in Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Harwich, Dennis, Brewster, Barnstable and Bourne.
Ask Future Generation Wind or CVEC to prove the wind turbines proposed will not harm the health of people nearby: They can’t. Ask if Future Generation Wind will provide health guarantees for people living near by: It won’t.
Certainly most Barnstable County citizens don’t want to directly or indirectly cause harm to others and, if aware of the issues, would not want CVEC to move forward with securing power purchase agreements with Future Generation Wind because it’s simply ethically and morally wrong to knowingly profit from the misery of others.
Please register opposition with your Board of Selectmen, your CVEC representative and the county commissioners. Any actions regarding power purchase agreements between CVEC or other Barnstable County “off-takers” and Future Generation Wind should be halted until it can be conclusively demonstrated that no one will be harmed by the proposed wind turbines.
Lilli-Ann Green lives in Wellfleet. Yvonne Relin lives in Brewster.
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