KINGSTON – The shadow flicker and noise concerns of the past won’t be revisited upon Kingston residents.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted 5-0 Tuesday night against supporting Green Development LLC of Rhode Island’s proposal to replace Kingston’s controversial Independence wind turbine with a new one.
Selectmen Chairman Kim Emberg read portions of emails from Kingston residents and some nonresidents who live near Green Development’s turbine in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, before proceeding without hesitation to oppose replacing the Independence.
Instead, she and the other board members agreed that the next step should be looking into how much it will cost to decommission and remove the wind turbine, which had been in operation by Kingston Wind Independence LLC from 2012 through 2019.
“I’m just curious,” Emberg said, after asking Green Development how much it would cost to decommission and remove it. “I think that’s what I’m interested in doing, personally.”
Selectman Jess Kramer was clear that her vote was final and that the proposal would not be given further consideration.
“I would say the cost to the town would be to the residents of our town, and I’m unequivocally opposed to any turbine on that site spinning again,” she said.
Selectman Dick Arruda said the solar project planned for the town’s capped landfill shows the town’s commitment to green energy while generating revenue, and that they should focus on that project and “forget about the monster.”
Green Development’s director of business development, Hannah Morini, presented the company’s plans for the turbine to the board, having previously presented those plans to the town’s Green Energy Committee in mid-April. The Green Energy Committee was in support of the proposal.
Green Development proposed to remove the existing turbine before replacing it with a $1.5 megawatt Vensys turbine for the sale of electricity to the town and to help establish a decommissioning fund for future removal.
Tuesday night, in response to the concerns of Kingston residents at that meeting, Morini presented new plans intended, she said, to ensure that neighbors are not subjected to unacceptable levels of flicker.
The proposal was to reduce the flicker effect on residents by curtailing its operation by 80 to 100 hours a year while asking the town to reduce its lease payments to the town by $5,000 per year.
Emberg invited anyone who still wanted to speak to do so after she and other board members made their choice clear. Their decision was applauded.
Schofield Road resident Valerie Massard, a professional municipal planner in Duxbury and other towns for many years, said she has seen other turbine projects fail and be declared a public nuisance and offered to help move forward with decommissioning the existing turbine.
The selectmen also plan to discuss new flicker regulations with the Planning Board.
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