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Moratorium costs Charlestown a $750,000 grant for wind project

April 12, 2011

CHARLESTOWN -- With a six-month moratorium on wind energy facility applications in effect, a proposal to install turbines in Ninigret Park to offset municipal energy costs will not go forward as planned.

The Town Council voted to March 14 to institute the new moratorium, which went into effect the next day, after also approving a new ordinance on wind energy. This is the second moratorium of its kind in Charlestown. Last November, a similar one was approved by the council after its member were sworn-in. That one, however, was only for four months.

And the reason behind making that moratorium just four months was to not impede progress being made by the Washington County Regional Planning Council. The organization approached Charlestown last year when it was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.

Those funds were intended to go toward installing two wind turbines in Ninigret Park as a means of offsetting energy costs accrued by the municipality in buildings owned in town and within the Chariho Regional School District.

But it became clear following the news of the moratorium that the project could not go forward as planned.

Jeffrey Broadhead, executive director of the planning council, explained that the grant had a time limit. He said that the organization had to submit a report on the grant that guaranteed the project would be finished by March 2012, like many other grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“But a wind power project takes longer than that and with the six-month moratorium, I couldn't file a report that stated the project would be finished," Broadhead said. "And I didn't want to put the state in the position to rescind the grant.”

More information is available in this week's edition of The Chariho Times

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Comments

Moratorium on Wind Turbines

April 14, 2011 by soxman, 3 years 27 weeks ago
Comment: 123

Both the article and the OpEd -Our View - contain some misinformation that would put a different spin on these pieces if corrected.

The picture of the lattice-frame wind tower is not the type of tower proposed by either Whalerock or by the WCRPC's Mr. Broadhead. As a matter of fact, the Charlestown ordinance - old and revised - does not allow such structures, at the municipal scale. So an opportunity to erect such a wind tower was not only "not missed" but "not considered."

The moratorium voted at the March 14 hearing had nothing to do with the Broadhead submission, although his proposal was, as it turned out, "collateral damage." You may be aware that Mr. Broadhead had similar proposals for New Shoreham and Jamestown, both of which have been terminated. Could it be that Mr. Broadhead is ill-prepared to carry out his duties? He is 0-3 at this point.

There is so much more wrong with your report, but let me wrap up the salient features with pointing out that the survey of energy usage in Washington County public buildings has been put on hold until a new contractor, Johnson Controls, can correct the deficiencies of the original contractor. Mr. Broadhead, I imagine could be 0-4, or as we say "took the collar".

soxman

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