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Falmouth’s municipal boondoggle begins its opening farewell  

Credit:  Falmouth's Firetower wind | November 15, 2019 | mjoecool.wordpress.com ~~

$2.3 million has been appropriated for turbine dismantling, removal and storage purposes.  Subsequent phases, all requiring more funding from Town Meeting, remain. 

Option 1 – relocating both turbines for use at a site outside of Falmouth

Nine companies / organizations responded to the town’s request for letters of interest regarding the wind turbine relocation project this past summer.  Four others expressed a general interest in the town’s turbines.  In the case of the nine companies / organizations cited above, a ‘Request for Qualification,’  according to Town Manager Suso, was issued by the end of October.  The RFQ will examine the responding company’s qualifications and ability to perform the work.

The procurement process will then move to issuing a request for proposals (RFP) where respondent offers will be considered  based upon town economic viability considerations.

*** It’s noteworthy to add that relocation (option 1 & 2) will involve negotiated cost sharing between parties to the agreement.  These projected costs will involve item expenditures similar to those associated with any new wind energy system commissioning (as example, in 2009 Falmouth’s Wind cost $5 million [nearly $6 M in 2019 dollars]).  Mind you, new site project commissioning costs for a 15 year old used wind turbine(s).

Option 2 – relocating one turbine out of town while re-purposing the other as a cell repeater tower

The re-purposing of one of the towers will likely include a town funding appropriation to remove and dispense with the nacelle, step-up transformer, hub, rotor and three rotor blades.  With the costs associated with relocating one turbine out of town (see ***), selling usable components/other scrap material of the nacelle, step-up transformer, hub, rotor and three rotor blades will have a minimal cost offset.

The fiscal, emergency communication system and cell service benefit of re-purposing of one of the towers into a cell repeater tower has not, as of this comment, been presented by the town’ consultant (Westin and Sampson) to the public record.  It is however, understood that this process would involve the town’s issuance of a RFP .  Yet, there has been no engineering consultant estimated revenue analysis to date.  

 Option 3 – selling the usable components/other scrap material and disposal of the remaining debris

The dismantling and removal cost for Falmouth’s turbines is estimated at nearly $1.4 million.  All scenarios  assume this estimated cost. 

Revenue from decommissioning Falmouth’s wind project can be realized through the sale of wind farm components and construction materials though, as with the cell tower re-purposing option, no information has been presented by the town’ consultant (Westin and Sampson) to the public record on the subject, as of  this comment.  This process also is understood to involve the town’s issuance of a RFP.  Yet, there has been no engineering consultant estimated revenue analysis to date. 

The towers, the nacelle and the hub and nose cone assembly (without blades) contain salvageable steel and copper (70-80%). The rotor blades have no salvage value and will  require to be properly disposed of in a licensed solid waste facility.

THE ODD THING THOUGH 

In February 2018 Selectmen gave Town Manager Julian Suso the go-ahead to spend up to $20,000 for a study to examine alternatives for future utilization, repurposing and reutilization options for Falmouth’s wind turbines.  In April 2018 Town Manager Suso hired engineering consulting firm Weston & Sampson to conduct the study.  In October 2018 Selectmen were presented the report (Wind Turbine Relocation Study) declaring a purpose limited to only examining the feasibility of implementing an action (moving the turbine), so as to lessen the impact of the turbine. 

The report did not includes any alternatives for future utilization, repurposing and reutilization options for Falmouth’s wind turbines.  Then on November 1, 2019 at the precinct 8 & 9 meeting Mr. Suso told members that the Article 14 funding request was based on an estimate provided by consultant Weston & Sampson.  

How is it that Town Meeting should be given removal and storage estimates but not given estimates covering the full context of options that selectmen directed Mr. Suso to have examined (i.e. alternatives for future utilization, repurposing and reutilization options)?    

Had the Selectmen’s directive been carried out, had the scope of work included the examination of alternatives for future utilization, repurposing and reutilization options for Falmouth’s wind turbines, had Fall Town Meeting been presented a full measure of  options with estimates that Selectmen directed examined

might it have better informed Town Meeting’s Article 14 vote? 

Source:  Falmouth's Firetower wind | November 15, 2019 | mjoecool.wordpress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments to query/wind-watch.org.

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