- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Court rules turbines can remain operational

A Barnstable Superior Court Judge has denied a motion that would have shut down the operation of Falmouth’s wind turbines while the town seeks permission from the zoning board to keep them spinning.

Judge Robert C. Rufo issued his decision Thursday, July 9, to deny the cease and desist order brought forth by nine turbine abutters listed as plaintiffs in the motion.

Town counsel Frank K. Duffy Jr. said the current curtailed hours set by the same court in 2013 remain in effect. Therefore, the two 400-foot turbines, which supply power to the municipal wastewater plant on Blacksmith Shop Road, can continue operation for 12 hours per day except on Sundays and some holidays.

The plaintiffs sought to shut the turbines down following a June 4 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that upheld a lower court ruling stating the town erred when erecting Wind Turbine 1 without a special permit from Falmouth’s zoning board.

The state appellate court ruling was based on two lawsuits that were merged at the lower court: one by Elizabeth and Neil P. Andersen, and another by Todd A. Drummey and others, the same plaintiffs that sought the cease and desist order.

Following the state highest court’s denial of their appeal, the Falmouth Board of Selectmen decided last month to apply to the local zoning board for the special permit, a move the appellate court said should have been done before they were erected.

The plaintiffs had hoped to halt the operations until the zoning board made a decision.

Board of selectmen chairman Douglas H. Jones said earlier this month that the town is still paying for the first turbine erected in 2009 and is obligated to deliver renewable energy credits based on the amount of time the turbines are in use.