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State Wants Wind to Sail Ahead as DPU Solicits “Best Practices”

November 18, 2013

Cape Cod Times reporter Patrick Cassidy brought to light the public comment period which ends December 6, 2013 (Wind-siting proposal slipping by unnoticed, 11/15/13). Until now, there has been no media attention to the solicitation  for “Best Practices” in siting wind turbines. Although Department of Public Utilities spokesperson Mary-Leah Assad emailed Cassidy that the DPU order was advertised in Boston newspapers, he notes  “there has been little indication that the general public is aware of the opportunity to comment.”

The guidelines for best practices that are expected from the DPU process are not regulations but would be offered to towns to use in existing reviews of wind-energy projects, DPU spokeswoman Mary-Leah Assad wrote in an email.

The guidelines also may be used by state permitting agencies or for programs that “involve grants, technical assistance, community engagement and other such activities,” Assad wrote.

What Assad does not say is that the Energy Facilities Siting Board under the DPU is set up to smooth the way for siting energy production plants including “wind energy facilities.”

“I believe it’s a way to circumnavigate the law frankly,” said Lilli-Ann Green, a Wellfleet resident and board member on Windwise-Massachusetts and Windwise- Cape Cod, groups that have vociferously opposed wind energy development. “They’re asking for comments almost immediately on a topic that’s very broad and very deep.”

For more on the  topic, see DPU Comment Period: So Many Critera, So Little Time. The Cape Cod Times was the only news outlet to report on the Community Wind Outreach Initiative–the state government’s end run around the legislature, which has resisted bypassing local control of wind turbine siting decisions.

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