The Town of Falmouth has hired a consultant to assist with the creation of bid documents necessary to take down the two wind turbines at the wastewater treatment plant site that have been inoperable for years.
An agreement was executed with a consultant and several meetings have been held, including walking the turbine site and reviewing multiple details and items to document the bid specifications required, Town Manager Julian M. Suso told the select board during its meeting on Monday, October 4.
The board had asked for an update on the dismantling process, since the board in February approved of hiring a consultant.
The consultant will specify what portions of the turbine would be removed and what can stay in place and draw up multiple procurements, involving design, site work, permitting and construction contracts. The town in 2019 appropriated $2.5 million to dismantle the two turbines, known as Wind 1 and Wind 2.
Once the bid is prepared, Mr. Suso said, the documents will be brought to the Clean Water Trust, the state agency that loaned Falmouth $4.8 million for Wind 2.
“We need to meet with them again to review the process we are putting into place and requesting their sign-off to try to limit the town’s financial liability,” Mr. Suso said.
The town borrowed close to $5 million from the trust to erect Wind 2. That agreement states Falmouth would not owe principal or interest as long as Wind 2 remains operational and producing renewable energy. Because Wind 2 had operated in the past, the town’s obligation is reduced to $3.5 million from the $5 million.
Wind 1 was shut down in September 2015 after the zoning board of appeals issued a cease-and-desist order. Wind 2 was shut down in June 2017 after Barnstable County Superior Court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II upheld the board of appeals’ decision deeming the turbines a nuisance after several neighbors filed lawsuits against the town.
Also, the town and consultant are reviewing an interconnection agreement with Eversource that was executed more than 10 years ago, Mr. Suso said.
“We are cautiously reviewing the agreement with legal counsel to avoid unforeseen and potentially costly electrical problems at the wastewater plant,” he said.
“We understand that in order to once again assume responsibility for the wastewater plant electrical grid, as was before the turbines, Eversource must now prepare a design for the town to upgrade and possibly adjust some portions of the grid,” Mr. Suso said.
He said he will be updating the board again later this month or after the November Town Meeting.
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