FALMOUTH – After a decade of two wind turbines standing inoperable on the wastewater treatment plant, the town is moving forward with getting them dismantled.
The Falmouth Select Board voted at its meeting Monday to hire a consultant to determine how much it would cost to get rid of the turbines, and then create the necessary bids to make that happen.
Previously, the Select Board and other town officials had discussed other options that included special legislation.
Attorney Chris Morog, whom the town hired as a consultant, said Monday that after investigating, he found some obstacles with special legislation, including an unknowable timetable and potential additional costs. Because of the age of the turbines, there is also a limited interest from potential bidders.
Previously, he had said that dismantling and disposing of the turbines would require multiple procurements, involving design, site work, permitting and construction contracts. But after discussing the situation with the state Attorney General’s Office, it was determined that the town could do one procurement for both of the turbines to have them dismantled, and procure the disposal of them as one transaction – steps that could save the town money.
The town, however, would have no control over whether the turbines are disposed of or are reused.
“The successful bidder, whether they end up paying us some amount of money or we have to pay them to have them removed, would be able to do what they’d like with them if they are the lowest responsible and eligible bidder,” Morog said.
When the turbines are removed, portions of the infrastructure would stay in place, such as the large concrete slabs underneath the turbines and some of the underground wiring, Morog said.
As the plan is still in the conversation stage, the town’s repayment obligations are still up in the air, chairperson Megan English Braga said.
“We need to have conversations about what the financial burden really means to us,” English Braga said, “and what impact it is going to have on our community.”
In 2019, town meeting voters approved an article requesting that the town pay $2.5 million to dismantle and store the turbines.
“There’s a good chance that we don’t have to spend as much money as we thought to take them down,” board member Doug Jones said. “We already put the $2.5 million towards that. There’s a good chance that there will be some left over … (and) we may not have to go above what we’ve already appropriated to resolve this issue.”
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