Otis is going into the wind energy business.
By a count of 189–96, voters at Tuesday’s special election approved borrowing an estimated $6.4 million to pay for the construction of a single wind turbine.
The 2-1 margin of victory for project proponents means the cost to taxpayers will be exempt from the tax levy limit of Proposition 2 ½.
The money will fund the land acquisition, design and construction of the turbine, which is expected to be producing electricity a year from now.
Tuesday’s vote was the second of two necessary votes to green-light the project. In early August, special town meeting voters overwhelming backed the alternate energy source to help reduce the municipal government’s reliance on Eversource, the electricity company that services the community.
The wind turbine is expected to generate 6.2 million kilowatts of electricity each year, with Otis needing only 350,000 kilowatts to run town-owned facilities. The rest of the electricity would be sold off to another government entity.
During an informational meeting prior to the Aug. 4 special town meeting, town officials outlined how the $6.4 million financing would be in the form of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, with the federal government covering 70 percent of the estimated 4.7 percent interest. Based on that figure, Otis taxpayers would pay close to 1.4 percent interest on the bonds.
Otis officials are currently negotiating with the landowner of the proposed site with an elevation between 1,500 and 1,600 feet. The town is spending $480,000 in state energy grants to pay for the feasibility and acoustic studies for the project. The remaining funds are covering preliminary design work.
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