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Municipal Turbine On A Fast Track

Posted in: Falmouth News, Top Stories
Dec 9, 2008 - 12:18:44 PM
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FALMOUTH- The Town of Falmouth may have a municipal wind turbine up and running within six months.
At the Fall Annual Town Meeting, voters approved Article 16, the last hurdle of the project, allocating $992,000 to install a 1.65-megawatt wind turbine facility at the Wastewater Treatment Facility on Blacksmith Shop Road in West Falmouth.
This week, Falmouth Town Manager Robert L. Whritenour Jr. said he approved the contract and instructed the contractor, D and C Construction Company of Rockland, to proceed with the installation of the turbine, which will be more than 200 feet tall.
This fall was the second time Town Meeting members weighed in on the project.
In November 2007, Town Meeting approved Article 14 in the amount of $4 million to acquire and construct the wind turbine. The project was subsequently bid out, but when costs exceeded estimates, the decision was made to install a larger turbine than originally planned.
The money for the turbine will be borrowed, and costs to pay for the bond will be paid for by the revenue generated from the turbine, Mr. Whritenour said.
The Green Communities Act and Net Metering Legislation, passed this year by the state Legislature, allows the project to remain economically feasible, Mr. Whritenour said, even with the added costs. The turbine will cover the $200,000 annual energy bill of the wastewater plant plus it will generate additional power. That surplus energy can be banked by the town to use for other town buildings, he said.
Mr. Whritenour said that D and C Construction estimated it could have the turbine installed within six months, though the town has allotted nine to 12 months for the installation. The scheduled can be fast-tracked because the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has the turbine equipment already in stock.
Mr. Whritenour told Falmouth selectmen last night, “As you know, the sooner the town can get the turbine up and running, the sooner we can begin to produce valuable electricity; so in this case, time is definitely money.”