KINGSTON – Town officials want to move forward with plans to remove the Independence wind turbine, but the turbine operator isn’t cooperating.
The town is asking a Superior Court judge to issue a ruling terminating Kingston’s lease and power purchase agreement with Kingston Wind Independence LLC due to the company’s failure to pay rent and taxes to the town in an amount exceeding $1.1 million.
Officials are also seeking an order from the court to allow the town or its representatives to enter onto the property to decommission and remove the turbine and related equipment.
The Board of Selectmen entered into an agreement with Kearsarge Kingston LLC, of Boston, and Cathay Bank in December for removal of the turbine on the former town landfill. Kearsarge Kingston entered into an agreement with the town to install a solar array on the landfill and offered to help with the turbine.
“Despite the town’s best efforts, KWI has failed and/or refused to provide or execute a written termination of the lease, thereby preventing the removal of the turbine and related equipment,” the lawsuit states.
Town Administrator Keith Hickey said it’s unfortunate that KWI has not been responsive, because the town and Kearsarge Kingston are ready to move forward. He said they want to get past this unfortunate delay with time of the essence because the solar developer has deadlines to meet.
“Our legal counsel and legal counsel for Kearsarge Kingston have been working, collaborating to work as quickly as we can to get that turbine down,” he said.
Hickey said a lot of work has been done securing the necessary approvals from the state for turbine removal and Kearsarge Kingston has bids in hand and is negotiating with companies that are interested in removing the turbine so everything else is falling into place.
Kingston Wind Independence defaulted on a loan from Cathay Bank to finance the turbine, resulting in legal action filed in U.S. District Court.
A confidential settlement agreement was reached with KWI waiving all its right, title and interest in the turbine and all personal property that belongs to KWI and assigned those rights to Kearsarge Kingston, according to the lawsuit.
The turbine has been out of operation since November 2019 but stopped paying rent and taxes to the town in December 2015.
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