Falmouth Turbines “Slam Dunk” At Town Meeting

Another optimistic gamble and scenario, gear-driven turbines have to last for 30 to 35 years just to recoup the costs again maybe longer.

By Frank Haggerty, Neighbor
Nov 11, 2019 7:14 am ET

 Reply (2)2

Falmouth Town Meeting Members Spending Millions On Gear Driven Wind Turbines
Falmouth Town Meeting Members Spending Millions On Gear Driven Wind Turbines (Image Credit : Steve Hunter )

Town officials ignored specifications and written warning and emails prior to construction the two town-owned wind turbines generate 110 decibels each of noise twice as a domestic wind turbine.

The 2005 KEMA Inc studies written and prepared for the Town of Falmouth showed up to 200 residents would be affected by two distinct types of turbine noise. Noise measured in decibels and human annoyance today known as low frequency or (infra-sound) .

The Assistant Town Manager acting as the manager of the first wind turbine project said: “We took on a huge risk and I think we were successful but we’re a large community and I think we can take on that risk.” The gamble continues into 2020 and the future at taxpayers’ expense.

At a rare Special Town Meeting in June of 2009 representatives voted for what they thought was a 5 million grant of federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The money for Falmouth Wind II was a loan brokered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust using state reserve funds.

The 5 million dollar loan is due plus interest.Subscribe

Former Selectman Brent Putnam was on the Selectboard in 2010. At Falmouth Town Meeting November 10, 2015, Brent told Town Meeting this about residents around the turbines:

“And they’re going to continue to fight this. They’d been fighting this when I was a selectman, they’re fighting this now and I’m not a selectman. They have a vested interest in this, ladies and gentlemen, that most of us don’t. And they, as just pointed out, they’re continuing to spend their own money and their own energy and their own time to fight this, and guess what? They’re winning.”

“When I was on the Board, we were given legal advice and, quite frankly, looking back on it
— because hindsight always is 20-20, isn’t it –we were told,”No problem, slam dunk”, and then we lost.”Oh, no problem, slam dunk”, and then we lost. And then we lost and then we lost.”

The Massachusetts court system after as many as eleven lawsuits shut down the turbines in June of 2017. “Slam Dunk” litigation costs up to $200,000.00 every six months for legal fees for years.

These gear drive turbines designed to last 20 years all around the world have much shorter lifespans due to gear failures and cracking blades made of fiberglass and resin are being replaced with direct drive type wind turbines.

On Tuesday, November 12, Article 14, Town Meeting Members will be asked for 2 and 1/2 half million just to take down the turbines and store them on site. This does not include the re-installation costs which of course will include several years of engineering, permits, and studies far outweighing the take down costs.

Today, You could buy and install a brand new direct drive 2 megawatt wind turbine at the new location for 3 to 4 million the same amount the town plans to spend on 15 year old gear driven turbines!

These turbines designed in the late 1990s were already in storage from 2005 to 2010 because no one would buy them and no one placed a bid at an auction. The Town of Falmouth is proposing after ten years to put them back in storage déjà vu?

These turbines still have their original gearbox and blades unlike the private-owned wind turbine in Falmouth.

The Falmouth Select Board is now gambling again with your tax dollars they can move Falmouth Wind II the second town-owned wind turbine along with the loan brokered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection using state reserve funds through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust.

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Falmouth town officials have this letter: The 5 million loan is due plus interest

April 2, 2013 : Outside legal counsel has advised that Wind II is subject to specific provisions of ARRA and applicable federal regulations and guidelines (“Federal Law”) in addition to the terms and conditions of the Project Regulatory Agreement (“PRA”) and the Loan Agreement associated with the funding of Wind 11.

Under Federal Law and the PRA and Loan Agreement, the Town must maintain Wind II as an “energy efficiency” project, as described in EPA guidelines dated March 2, 2009, in order to benefit from the financial subsidy provided by the Trust under ARRA and the Trust’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

Under federal regulations governing the Trust’s ARRA grant at 40 CRF Part 31.30(d)(l)

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