May 6, 2019

Falmouth seeks bids to move wind turbines out-of-town to generate energy and revenue

By Christine Legere | Cape Cod Times | Posted May 5, 2019 |

FALMOUTH – Officials have started working toward moving two town-owned wind turbines beyond Falmouth’s borders Wednesday with publication of an advertisement in the Central Register seeking letters of interest from any public and private property owner “with enough land, wind resource and electrical interconnection capacity” to host one or both of the massive pair.

The town, which would continue to own the turbines, offers to share in the energy they generate as well as related energy credits for producing green energy as part of the deal.

Wind 1 and Wind 2, which went online in 2010 and 2012, respectively, were the subject of nine lawsuits by abutters during their operation. Neighbors complained about a long list of turbine-related health effects.

In 2017, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty agreed that the two 1.65-megawatt turbines posed a nuisance and ordered that they never operate again at their current location on the town’s wastewater treatment facility site on Blacksmith Shop Road.

Wind 1 already had been prohibited from spinning in Falmouth in 2015, after the state Appeals Court ruled it needed a special permit, which was then denied by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

But the selectmen continued to explore local options for Wind 2 after Moriarty’s decision.

Public pressure from turbine opponents continued, prompting four out of five selectmen in January to vote never to let either of the turbines operate again within Falmouth’s borders.

By operating them in another location, the town hopes to mitigate some of its turbine-related expenses, including required payback of a $3.5 million loan from the state if Wind 2 does not produce energy. The pair would also generate some revenue.

If no one is interested in hosting the turbines, the selectmen will look at other alternatives, ranging from selling them to removing the blades and repurposing the base as a cell tower.

The town manager will accept letters of interest until May 30.

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