GOSHEN – A company that built the state’s first two commercial wind turbines in Colebrook wants to build six more similar turbines on Torrington Water Co. land here.
BNE Energy is proposing Wind Goshen, a wind-generation project on a ridgeline up to 1,500 feet above sea level. A map included in BNE Energy’s proposal to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shows nine potential sites for six 19.9 megawatt turbines on wooded land off East Street North. Due to its elevation, orientation and topographical characteristics, the property would be an ideal location for energy generation, BNE Energy wrote in its proposal to DEEP.
Goshen First Selectman Robert P. Valentine said he is aware of the proposal and wants to know how the public feels about it.
“Wind turbines are something we’re all intrigued by,” Valentine said Friday. “At this point, I’m just looking for input from our residents.”
BNE Energy has signed a long-term land lease with the Torrington Water Co. that would allow the energy company to develop, own and operate the wind project. The project needs approval from DEEP and the state Siting Council, which ultimately decides the fate of any power generation project in Connecticut. Local officials can offer an opinion, but they have no authority on the outcome.
If BNE Energy secures the necessary approvals, it would erect the turbines in 2017 and have them running by the end of 2018, according to the company’s proposal.
Though the town’s land-use commissions won’t have a say on the proposal, Valentine said he’s hopeful an informational meeting will be held to give residents a chance to learn about the proposal and comment on it.
The first selectman noted that town-owned nature trails run through Torrington Water Co. land, near where the proposed turbines would be located.
“Those trails are certainly important and we’d like to be able to continue to use them,” Valentine said.
According to BNE Energy, the turbines would produce economic, environmental and societal benefits; would create jobs and would provide a source of low-cost renewable wind energy.
The turbines would be BNE’s first expansion since its initial hard-fought battle to erect wind turbines in Connecticut. The company first targeted a site in Prospect, where a swell of protest grew into heated public comment. Protesters even showed up outside the Siting Council as that project’s fate was debated. Prospect residents worried about the height of the turbines and setbacks from neighboring properties, as well as the flicker of natural light caused by the rotating blades; ice flying off the blades; bird kills by the rotating blades, and noise.
The Siting Council rejected the Prospect project, but it approved the company’s second proposal for Colebrook. That approval led to a legal challenge in 2012 from FairwindCT and from Colebrook residents who said the Siting Council had no authority to decide about wind turbines because state law defined its authority as over power-generating facilities that use either combustible fuel or a nuclear reaction.
The state Supreme Court ruled that the Siting Council did have proper authority, and state laws later were revised.
The original Colebrook proposal was for six turbines on two properties. So far, two have been built.
Power generated by the turbines is fed into the New England region’s power grid.
At least for some neighbors, they remain unwelcome, with residents complaining of headaches, high blood pressure, dizziness and insomnia they attribute to the low-frequency sound emitted by the blades. They based their concerns on the research of a scientist in the Netherlands, E.L. Petersen, who studied the effects of wind farms there.
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