Wind turbine exit strategy in the works

  • Antrim select board discusses a nine turbine wind project during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Staff photo by Abby Kessler

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:43PM

Antrim select board members approved an independent consulting group to assist it with a review of Antrim Wind Energy’s decommissioning plan and cost estimates for the project during a regular meeting Tuesday night.

GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc has been selected to review the documents, a service that will cost about $5,000. Select board members asked Jack Kenworthy, of Walden Green Energy, who attended the meeting, to cover the full cost of the review.

“Ultimately we believe the plan is a robust plan and we believe that the funding estimate is an accurate estimate and we want the town to feel the same way,” Kenworthy said.

That being said, Kenworthy made no commitments for the company to cover the cost of the review, but said he will contact the board in the near future with a firm answer.

The decommissioning plan addresses the removal of turbines and restoration of the site after the units have been non-operational for more than 24 months, or the 50-year lease on the land expires.

Once the project begins AWE will have an obligation to decommission and remove the turbines and restore the site. AWE projects that decommissioning will cost about $2.775 million.

The town now has 60 days to review the plan and cost estimate on the project.

The board also discussed a proposed warrant article to acquire a conservation easement on 100 acres of land on which four turbines will be placed. If approved by voters at Town Meeting, the board would be authorized to assign The Bean Conservation Easement to a conservation organization including the Antrim Conservation Commission, the Harris Center for Conservation Education, or a similar organization.

The easement will be acquired at no cost to the town and AWE says it will make a $10,000 one-time payment for future monitoring purposes. The easement will only take effect when the project achieves commercial operation.

The company is still waiting for the official order from SEC to be handed down in order to work out the project’s nuances. Construction on the project is slated to begin in October of 2017.