IPSWICH – The select board is considering a proposal from a Rhode Island company that could help the town out of a stuck situation.
Based in Cranston, R.I., Green Development said it will take down the broken Wind II turbine, which has stopped spinning, replace it with a working model, and sell power to the town.
Wind II is one of two windmills at the end of Town Farm Road that are supposed to generate electricity for the town.
Wind I is still working and is publicly owned. The second was built under a public-private partnership with Ipswich Wind Independence LLC in 2011. The company has since gone out of business.
A fire knocked Wind II out of commission in 2018, and the turbine has remained inactive since. The town later found out no bond had been paid to help take the structure down.
Against that backdrop, Green Development said it will take down and replace Wind II and sell the generated electricity to the town’s Electric Light Department.
Hannah Morini, Green Development’s director of business development, told the select board the company would sell the power to Ipswich for 11.85 cents per kWh at a fixed rate for 25 years.
The ELD’s customers, meanwhile, pay close to 15 cents an hour, plus a $4 monthly charge.
The company would lease the land for $1 a year but pay personal property taxes. If Ipswich opted not to buy electricity from Green, the company would pay the town $35,000 a year. The town would also get its renewable energy credits (RECs) back when the current lease expires.
Green Development founder Mark DePasquale said if the board agreed, the new turbine could be built before the end of March 2022.
While he spoke highly of the Vensys equipment being imported from Germany, resident Ed Marsh said the company was ultimately owned by the Chinese firm Goldwind. It took a 70% stake in 2008, according to Wikipedia.
He called it “extraordinarily unwise” to use Vensys and said it was “very ill advised” to use the equipment in light of the current political climate between the U.S. and China.
Depasquale countered that the equipment is “made 100%” in Germany, which is where research and testing also takes place.
The old Wind II turbine was made by Hyundai, which has since withdrawn from the wind industry.
DePasquale’s company, meanwhile, has been operating since 2009 and has installed more than 70 megawatts (MW) in solar and wind capacity. The Ipswich turbine would generate 1.5 MW, Morini said.
The town and Green Development are still negotiating a contract. Town manager Tony Marini said it is “95% complete,” and would be sent to the board for future discussion.
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