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Final Kingston Independence wind turbine sound report delay

KINGSTON – So, they don’t want to talk about a proposal to buy the Independence wind turbine until the Board of Health first has its say.

For the second time, the Board of Selectmen has declined to meet with the turbine’s owners from Kingston Wind Independence ahead of a Board of Health meeting on mitigation efforts in an abatement order due to excessive noise in violation of state noise policy.

With the Board of Health meeting fast approaching (6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17), selectmen want to wait before discussing what KWI views to be the Board of Health’s options for amending the abatement order. KWI disputes the findings that the turbine is out of compliance with the noise policy.

Shutdown of the turbine from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. year-round and slowdown of the turbine during nighttime operation would both have financial implications for the town, according to a letter to selectmen from KWI managers Bradford Cleaves, Duncan Peterson and Kially Ruiz.

They claim the first would cost the town $3.9 million over the next 17 years remaining in KWI’s net metering and lease contract with the town. They say the slowdown would cost the town $1.9 million over the next 17 years.

They requested a meeting before Saturday, Aug. 15, to review the options they proposed, including the town buying the turbine by issuing a municipal clean energy bond and then applying for a state grant or clean energy incentive so the town could operate the turbine at a surplus.

Selectmen limited their reaction to the request, preferring that the Board of Health have the chance to evaluate the final acoustical monitoring study report first as suggested by Chairman Elaine Fiore.

Selectman Jean Landis Naumann said she’s glad they want to meet with the selectmen, but it’s premature to meet before the Board of Health meets.

“It’s not within our power to decide what the Board of Health is going to do,” she said.”Until they’ve made that decision, no one’s going to know what the financial ramifications are.”

However, the full report won’t be ready until next week, the week of Aug. 17. A summary of comments on the draft technical report has been released, but the final version of the technical report has been delayed again. The Board of Health is still scheduled to meet.

The final report is expected to include some new text and wording edits to clarify certain points, but the sound monitoring results will be the same as those in the draft report released in April.