A Failed Investment

Kudos are in order for Troy Clarkson’s superb essay in a recent Falmouth Enterprise on the cumulative and growing negative economic “value” of the industrial wind-generating plants (aka wind turbines). What started out as a seemingly smart option for the Town of Falmouth in its quest to “go green” has now turned into a continuing drain on tax dollars of Falmouth citizens. Besides the continuing and mounting economic losses (at least $1 million and counting), its other negative impacts are the seriously degraded health for many of our neighbors who are unusually sensitive to rapid pulses of infrasonic energy, the growing cost in maintenance of aging machines, and the continuing legal costs by the town from past, current, and future lawsuits related to health issues of our neighbors.

It should also be noted that the almost weekly letters to the editor have been written by individuals with an inadequate understanding or any formal education in the physics of infrasonic energy. The only letter writer so far with the proper scientific credentials to address the topic is our Falmouth neighbor, Robert A. Frosch, a theoretical physicist, with extensive professional experience in acoustics, and former Administrator of NASA and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, among many other key positions in the US government and in the UN Environment Programme. Falmouth has a large number of talented individuals who have the professional knowledge and experience to assist the community in properly addressing complex technical questions. Why don’t we ask them for assistance?

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It is increasingly evident that the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) “sold” Falmouth a “pig in a poke.” CEC never informed the town of Falmouth, Town Meeting members, managers, and the board of selectmen about known (and unintended) impacts of the operation of industrial-size wind turbines adjacent to residential areas. It is now time for the town of Falmouth to publicly admit that the wind-turbine “experiment” has been a total failure and move as rapidly as possible to divest ourselves of the machines. Perhaps the $300,000 in “free cash” approved recently under Article 25 at the April 2014 Town Meeting can be used to expedite their removal through marketing to another operator in a more suitable environmental setting and start the planning process for installation of solar arrays, as many other Cape Cod towns are doing.

Therefore, a two-pronged strategy must be pursued immediately: (1) sale and transfer of the wind turbines to a non-Falmouth location, and (2) use the open areas around the wastewater and sanitary landfill sites for the installation of photovoltaic solar arrays. The economic drain on the finances of the town of Falmouth must stop now. The citizens of Falmouth need to be informed of the total loss, past and projected, in tax dollars associated with the operation of the wind turbines caused by limited operating time by health-related court decisions and NStar’s required maximum inputs to the regional grid. No more use of “free cash” (aka surplus tax dollars) or potential transfer of funds from CEC to continue to subsidize what now should be recognized by town leaders and citizens as a failed investment.

Richard S. Williams Jr.
Frazar Road
West Falmouth

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