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Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts has an interest in conserving the forests of Massachusetts for their carbon sequestering capacities and preventing the industrial development of large tracts of land for wind turbines.

indicates a videoWatch the video of the development of land in the Berkshires for the use of siting ten turbines.

Costs Plenty – Delivers Little

The Berkshire Wind Power Project is a ten 1.5 MW turbine project constructed on Brodie Mountain by Reed and Reed of Maine. According to a Notice of Project Change filed with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA #12532), the Berkshire Wind Project covers 2,500 acres.1   Forty-five (45) acres of land have been altered, presumably by cutting down forests for the construction of permanent structures including wind turbines, meteorological towers, access roads, transmission lines, substations, and maintenance buildings. According to a recent report sixty acres of private land was taken by eminent domain. 2

The $65 million Berkshire Wind project was funded through Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Green Power Partnership program, part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), which uses a surcharge from your electric utility bills to fund wind projects. The MassCEC gave an outright grant of  $150,000 to the Berkshire Wind project and made an agreement to purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the project. On December 22, 2010 Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation (BWPCC) issued $64,705,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds to complete the financing. for their project. Proceeds from the 20-year bond issue will be used primarily to repay a $52.5 million, short-term loan taken by BWPCC. The BWPCC  consists of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company and the towns of Ashburnham, Boylston, Groton, Holden, Hull, Ipswich, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield, and West Boylston.  The project was originally owned by Distributed Generations Systems and was purchased by BWPCC in 2008 for $4 million.

This project was the subject of a lawsuit brought by Dallas-based Silverleaf Resorts which planned to build a 324-unit condominium project on 1,080 acres of land on the east side of Brodie Mountain. Representatives of Silverleaf Resorts said that the Berkshire Wind project threatened the potential for their $62 million dollar time-share condominium project. The Silverleaf Resort would have generated hundreds of full-time local jobs, $382,000 in yearly tax revenue for New Ashford and roughly $30 million in annual local spending by visitors to the resort.3 It would have provided a lot more construction jobs than the Berkshire Wind Project generated. Silverleaf was not built.  Instead the Governor has given the area an expensive wind power project which will only provide 6/100th of 1% of Massachusetts’ total electricity needs.

1. http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/pdffiles/npcs/072209em/12532npc.pdf

2. http://www.berkshireplanning.org/environment/documents/HAN_BerkWindPowerProj.pdf

3. Stafford, Scott. “Wind turbines may be moved: Silverleaf Resorts consultants want Berkshire Wind to relocate 3 structures atop Brodie Mountain.” The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts). October 22, 2009.

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