SAVOY – Proposed wind-power turbines on a Savoy ridge could get three stories taller.
The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday to consider amending its decade-old bylaw regulating wind energy.
When adopted by Town Meeting in January 2008, the bylaw set a maximum height of 425 feet.
Minuteman Wind LLC, the company that plans to erect five turbines on West Hill, is seeking both a new height limit – 455 feet – and a change related to how close the tip of a turbine blade can come to the ground.
The bylaw set that clearance at 100 feet. At the hearing, a change to 70 feet will be discussed, according to a legal notice of the hearing.
Lindsay Deane-Mayer, a project manager with Palmer Capital Corp. of Cohasset, said the increased height is being sought to enable the 2.5 megawatt turbines to generate more electricity.
“We can give the best benefit back to the town with this extra 30 feet,” she said.
Palmer Capital is working with Minuteman to build the roughly $31 million project, which is now in the design stage.
Deane-Mayer said as the company enters into talks with Savoy about payments in lieu of taxes, having the ability to generate more electricity increases the overall value of the venture.
“They’re important for the project and the town to maximize the benefits,” she said of the proposed bylaw amendments. “It’s a pretty minimal change. It’s going to be barely perceptible.”
Residents in late June authorized the Select Board to negotiate future tax payments with Minuteman and Palmer Capital. Those talks have not yet begun, Deane-Mayer said.
The project is expected to advance even without the zoning amendments.
“There are still opportunities for wind turbines to be installed on that property,” Deane-Mayer said. The land is owned by Harold “Butch” Malloy, of Savoy.
The existing rules are part of the bylaw’s siting standards. Any change will require approval in a townwide vote.
Palmer Capital hopes to order five turbines by the end of the year, with delivery by September of next year. If that timeline holds, power could be generated by the end of 2018.
The 12.5 megawatt project won approvals from residents and boards in 2008 and 2010, then faced delays due to environmental challenges.
The state Department of Environmental Protection cleared the project to proceed late last year.
Deane-Mayer said people can contact the company with comments or questions through the Minuteman Wind website, minutemanwind.com.
As of Monday, she said she had not fielded any complaints. “There is a lot of interest in the jobs that will be created,” she said.
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