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Anybody Want A Wind Turbine?  How About Two?  Cape Town Officials Would Like To Know

May 6, 2019

Falmouth officials are trying to mitigate the financial damage to the town from two stilled wind turbines.

Removing them is estimated to cost between $8.1 and $9.6 million, and the town is also potentially on the hook for $3.5 million of a $5 million loan from the state’s Clean Water Trust.

Instead, town officials are hoping someone will move the massive wind turbines out of Falmouth and operate them, and the town wants to share in the revenue the wind turbines generate, according to The Cape Cod Times. If someone were to operate the wind turbines somewhere, the town might not have to pay back the $3.5 million portion of the Clean Water Trust loan.

The first turbine, known as Wind 1, was installed in 2009 on town-owned land near a wastewater treatment plant and became operations in 2010.

Neighbors objected, citing noise and health effects, and they sued later that year, eventually winning a decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court in February 2015 that the town was required under its bylaw to obtain a special permit to operate the wind turbine but had failed to do so. The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals in April 2016 denied a special permit for the wind turbine, on a 4-1 vote.

The Falmouth Board of Selectmen appealed the town zoning board’s decision, but in June 2017 a Barnstable Superior Court judge ordered both turbines to be shut down, upholding the zoning board’s finding that they were a nuisance.

In January 2019 selectmen decided to never operate the wind turbines in Falmouth again. The vote was 4-0, with one abstention.

Supporters of wind turbines say converting kinetic energy from wind into electricity for power is clean and points to a future with less dependence on fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Opponents say wind turbines are ugly, produce noise that is a nuisance to neighbors, pose a hazard to birds, and cost too much money for the relatively small amount of electricity they produce.



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