There are some serious issues regarding the proposed wind turbine in Otis that taxpayers should consider before voting for a Prop 2½ override Sept. 8 to fund the community-owned 415-foot tall GE turbine.
Why is the project relying on an old feasibility study (2012) done for a different location than the currently-proposed site and for different makes of turbines than the one chosen?
Why is the project relying on estimated wind speeds? The standard feasibility study method calls for installing an anemometer and running it for a year to get the true basis on which to predict the amount of electricity that could be generated. Instead Otis relied on the Massachusetts GIS wind resources map, which uses modeling. Factual data is better than virtual data.
Why has community concern over the height of the turbine been neglected? The standard method is to fly a balloon at the height of the turbine. This was not done. Comparing the project with the considerably smaller, 290-foot tall Williams stone quarry turbine is misleading.
Why haven’t residents been provided information regarding nearby projects where unanticipated costs have affected the bottom line? The MassDEP required the owners of the Hoosac (Iberdrola) to install serrated edges on the blades of the turbines at great expense. This spring a gearbox failure on one of the Brodie Mountain turbines had to be replaced at great cost to the owners, the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co.
Otis town officials should provide answers to these questions so their voters can make an informed decision when going to the polls next week.
The writer is president, Wind Wise Massachusetts.
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