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Savoy’s Wind Bylaw in the News

August 20, 2017
Hoosac on Crum Hill

Hoosac turbines at Crum Hill

The Planning Board of the tiny town of Savoy will hold a public hearing on August 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Fire Station. Minuteman Wind, the project developer, says taller turbines are needed to generate the desired output, according to the Berkshire Eagle.

Larry Parnass reported the comments of John Tynan, chairman of the Select Board (“Hearing postponed on Savoy wind power bylaw change“):

The requested change is driven in part by the fact that turbine blades used for the lower height project are no longer available, Tynan said.

“That causes a problem with them reaching the capacity they wanted,” he said of the company’s intended electricity output. “A little bit higher is quite a lot of energy produced.”

The “Commercial Wind Energy Facilities” bylaw currently calls for a maximum height of 425 feet to and a ground clearance of 100 feet. The hearing will consider raising the height to 455 feet and lowering the clearance to 70 feet. The date of the town meeting when Savoy’s voters will be called upon to amend the zoning bylaws has not been announced. The amendment requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

The Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, August 22, will also discuss the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), which the town authorized them to negotiate at a June 30, 2017 special town meeting. Parnass reported of that meeting:

Though the issue had once drawn over 200 residents to meetings, the recent town meeting was sparsely attended. The article giving the Select Board authority to handle the tax matter passed 13-5, according to Town Clerk Brenda Smith.

The article, “Long-debated $31M Savoy wind power project revived,” reports

Deane-Mayer [of Palmer Capital–a new investor in the project] said that with greater use of natural gas to produce electricity, energy prices have come down. She declined to say whether the $220,000 figure was still a reasonable estimate [for a PILOT for Savoy].

“We’re looking for stable income through the period of the permit,” Tynan said of the tax agreement. “With renewable energy this is your best avenue to get something more favorable to the town.”

A PILOT agreement, as it’s known, can also benefit a developer by lowering initial payments, which would normally be high before depreciation reduces the value of the investment.

JD Allen also reported on the $31 million project for WAMC’s Midday Magazine (“Wind Turbine Project In Savoy Starts Up, Again,” 7/11/17) that, “Some residents have expressed concerns about how the turbines could impact their health.”

Project Location

Minuteman Wind location in Savoy MA

Turbine location identified by Minuteman Wind

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Kapsambelis permalink
    August 21, 2017 7:37 am

    Savoy residents would be doing all of us a favor by rejecting this project altogether. The court ordered shutdown of the Falmouth wind turbines, about half the size of these, teaches that anyone living within a mile and a quarter of these wind turbines will be subjected to unacceptable levels of sonic and infrasonic emissions that constitute a private nuisance, that can impact health. The lager size of these turbines require even longer setbacks.

    In addition, wind turbines kill unacceptable numbers to birds and bats. The clearing, blasting, and access road construction, will damage the local ecology with unpredictable results.

    Residents of Savoy, do yourselves a favor and mobilize to reject this project. Whatever the promised benefits, they are not worth it, and will not materialized when the court shuts these down as it did in Falmouth.

  2. August 20, 2017 3:30 pm

    Yet another project with impacts just as serious for Hawley as for residents of Savoy, but those families in the next town have no say. This is a crazy fact of industrial wind plant siting

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