FAIRHAVEN – A report on the wind turbines on town land detailed the financial and environmental benefits, but two residents in the audience Aug. 8 asked selectmen not to accept such a rosy scenario.
Sumul Shah, president of Solaya Energy LLC, said the turbines have brought just over $1 million in revenues to the town over the past four years. Shah said the income is equal to the salaries for 16 teachers. He said they are on pace to pay the town more than $300,000 in 2016.
Solaya is partners with CCI Energy LLC and Palmer Management Corp. who combined to form Fairhaven Wind LLC. Among the environmental benefits Shah mentioned is that the wind is equivalent to eliminating 35.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide and taking 3,414 cars off the road for a year. Shah said they have had periodic problems with the north turbine but that they involved software, not hardware, and have been fixed.
Selectman Daniel Freitas said he’s been “a supporter since day 1” of the turbines and that he works at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, which has 13 turbines.
Selectman Robert Espindola said along with the solar project on the landfill off Alden Road and the anaerobic digester used by the Department of Public Works, the town might qualify as a Green Community. Such communities are eligible for grants from the state.
Resident John Methia, who opposed the turbines, said the report was too “rosy” and that the selectmen shouldn’t endorse it as a “win-win.” He recalled how the turbines divided residents and said he’s affected by the “flicker” effect where he lives.
Espindola said while they asked for a report, the board didn’t co-sign the press release and has not been asked by the developer “to wave the flag for this project.”
Carolyn Young of Pierce’s Point said she has four children and that a son had to have his bedroom moved from the turbine side because he woke up all night. She said she was glad the town was getting money, but said the turbines should not have been installed so close to residences. Young said the income wasn’t worth the divisions the turbines caused in the community.
“These are industrial turbines. They should have been put in an industrial area,” Young said, not marshland.
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