The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 17, 2009

Board of Selectmen reconsider approach to wind turbines

After the 11th-hour removal of the wind turbine bylaw from Town Meeting this year, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) recognized that they still must come up with a plan to govern wind turbines in Carlisle. Chair Timothy Hult began by noting that Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie has asked Town Counsel to review current documentation to ascertain that the town can delay implementation without risking legal action. McKenzie responded that she has the information, and believes that this is the case, but she needs to review the material before responding publicly.

“What’s the efficacy of wind power in Carlisle?” continued Hult. This question had proven the key issue in delaying the consideration of the bylaw at town meeting. Hult recommended calling in the four experts on the town’s Alternative Energy Committee to review the science for the Selectmen. He felt that he still needed evidence on whether or not it makes sense in Carlisle to employ wind turbines to generate power.

“It seemed that it wasn’t clear that there was enough wind,” agreed Planning Board Chair David Freedman and added that insufficient levels and consistency of wind would require that “you need higher and higher turbines. It [a turbine] needs to be above trees and needs to have a lot of space around it.” Freedman noted that in Carlisle, “we’re not on mountaintops or on the ocean” and that such a solution may be impractical in town. He asked the rhetoric question: “If there’s not enough wind, does it make sense to write a bylaw covering it?”

Selectman John Williams restated his position that he believes there is considerable doubt about their being enough wind in town to generate power with turbines, and said “I’m only in favor of pursuing municipal use on municipal property, not private use.” He added, “If it was allowed, we wouldn’t be working on a bylaw.”

“There had been differing opinions,” responded McKenzie on whether or not the town allows the installation of wind turbines. She stated she will report on Carlisle’s regulatory status at a future meeting, and request that the Alternative Energy Committee present a town-specific consideration of wind power. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito