SAVOY – After more than a decade of process and debate, plans for a five-turbine wind farm on a high Berkshire County ridge are moving forward.
The $31 million facility on 293 acres in Savoy won a special permit from the town in 2010. But the company didn’t procure a wetlands permit from the state until late 2016. Minuteman then started excavating with a local building permit in hand, reports the Berkshire Eagle.
The company plans to take delivery of the turbines in mid-2018.
Residents at a town meeting in June authorized the Select Board to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, which could bring much-needed revenue to the tiny town, which hosts many acres of non-taxable state forest.
The site is owned by longtime resident Harold “Butch” Malloy, who has a 20-year lease arrangement with Minuteman Wind, LLC.
The project proved divisive. Neighbors concerned about noise, the “flicker effect” from turbine blades, and impact on surrounding property values opposed the project. Others said it would fragment a large tract of deep forest habitat.
Residents of nearby Hawley worked against the plan, but ultimately had little say. The site on West Hill Road is only 1,000 feet from the town border, and the plans show turbines 425 feet tall. Hawley has a bylaw limiting wind turbines to 200 feet.
The turbines will be visible from Savoy and Hawley and parts of Charlemont, Florida, Windsor and Plainfield.
The 12.5-megawatt project is expected to generate enough electricity to power around 3,000 homes.
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