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Tiverton Residents Turning in Wind Energy Surveys; Wind Tower Being Constructed in Industrial Park

Tiverton residents received a wind energy survey in their tax bills last week, and they have started coming into Town Hall.

Wind energy surveys that were recently sent out to Tiverton residents are now starting to arrive at . The questionnaire (attached to this post) is a public opinion poll that will aid officials in their ongoing feasibility study of the potential of wind energy for Tiverton.

On Friday Garry Plunkett, liaison between the town and the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC), said he’s picked up approximately 200 completed surveys. They went to the roughly 7,600 homes that receive tax notices. Plunkett notes that multiple Tiverton adults who reside in one household can make copies of the survey and turn them in, one per person. Copies are available at Town Hall.

“It’s to measure what people think about wind energy,” Plunkett said about the survey. “If this goes forward we’d have to do a lot of communication with the public, hold workshops to answer questions and so forth. Is there a general feel this is a good thing or not? What are the concerns? Are the concerns legitimate?”

After six weeks, Plunkett said he hopes to have enough surveys returned.

EBEC is a nine-town collaborative comprised of Tiverton, Little Compton, Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport, Bristol, Warren, Barrington and East Providence, charged to find ways of reducing energy costs and increase renewable energy.

Plunkett spent most of last week helping get a meteorological tower set up in the industrial park that will spend the next months studying the area’s potential for wind energy production.

The tower will be approximately 200 feet tall and will be viewable from Route 24.

“The meteorological tower will give us real data of wind at the site, which would be needed to design a complex of wind turbines to determine where they would go and how much they’d produce,” he said.

Plunkett said the cost of doing the wind study, paying consultants, getting the tower up and doing the data collection and analysis is $56,000 out of an approximate $335,000 grant obtained by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. Plunkett added that he and resident Dennis Culberson volunteered to help get the tower up, and that a private tree removal company was covered by the grant to clear roughly an acre to an acre and a half to put up the tower.

“The tower has instruments on top of it,” Plunkett said. “They collect various things, and the main thing is wind direction, time of wind direction, how long it blows, at what speed and what direction. Direction is important.”

Plunkett said it is known that in the winter, most winds in Tiverton come from the northwest, while in the summer most winds from the south to southeast.

“But you still want to know how much wind comes at what direction,” he added. Plunkett noted that if wind turbines are going to be constructed to potentially serve nine communities, this information is important so a turbine isn’t built too close to another and create a “wind shadow” or diminish the amount of energy one single turbine can produce, similar in sailing when another boat “steals” another’s wind.

Since the tower is owned by the state, Plunkett said that once the wind study is finished, RIEDC can reuse it in the future.

A general study of the potential wind energy sites for the East Bay region was conducted in 2009 by Applied Science Associates, based out of South Kingstown, and overseen by EBEC. Plunkett said Tiverton’s site in the industrial park scored “head and shoulders” above the rest.

The within the industrial park is being done in conjunction with the construction of the meteorological tower, where a firm was selected in March by the Tiverton Planning Board.

“So ideally, one thing about wind turbines, they have a small footprint and you have other industrial uses within a development that coexist with wind energy generation,” Plunkett said. “We’re looking to have flexibility with that plan.”

Jim L June 20, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Hurray any move is a move forward, sound like a grear plan and the land being subdivided is also good news, While the windmills are a multitown project we must see to it that Tiverton recieves the benefits of haveing the ideal site,This should be good for the town
Dawn June 20, 2011 at 08:44 PM
In 1998, Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark and concluded that it has "serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs." Denmark (population 5.3 million) has over 6,000 turbines that produced electricity equal to 19% of what the country used in 2002. Yet no conventional power plant has been shut down. Because of the intermittency and variability of the wind, conventional power plants must be kept running at full capacity to meet the actual demand for electricity. Most cannot simply be turned on and off as the wind dies and rises, and the quick ramping up and down of those that can be would actually increase their output of pollution and carbon dioxide (the primary "greenhouse" gas). So when the wind is blowing just right for the turbines, the power they generate is usually a surplus and sold to other countries at an extremely discounted price, or the turbines are simply shut off. Do Tiverton residents really want such an eyesore for nothing?? and they are loud , and kill birds .
Joe Sousa. June 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM
If it is a private venture, supported by private dollars, I say lets give it a try. I pass the two Portsmouth turbines every day watching them spin and make electric. The devil is in the details, and what the town is responsible for. Getting off fossil fuels to make electric is a positive for our communities. This tower will let us know if this site is suitable for the task. The technology is getting better and cheaper every day.
Jim L June 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM
The Wind in Tiverton is not the wind in Norway there is nothing between the winds from the Atlantic but Little Compton, should we let the land just sit empty for another 30 years.Phone wires , electrict wires other birds all kill birds to. i fear no outcry from Portsmouth about dead birds piled up at the foot of there tower, nor do you hear that about the Priory also.
stoney larue June 21, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Jim how far is Norway from the Ocean? I agree with Joe for once the devil is in the details and we will be forever altering the towns appearence and being stuck with a huge bill when these things run their twenty year life span. I want to know an exzct number as to the bottom line for what the town willbe getting. How will this lower my tax bill and improve my town. And finally if the dealis so good lets go it alone and not let these other towns in on our resources.
Kathy Ryan June 21, 2011 at 01:49 PM
1998 was a lot of research time and experience ago. There are more current studies. Roger Williams has been in the forefront of the local research and is a good place to start. Fall River has a new site manufacturing components in the Tillotson Bldg [FRHN]. UMD and BCC are training students for green economy. Blades are getting quieter. Garry and his team have done a good job on research, and made it available to the public. This will also be an income source to Tiverton and fits well with the solar panel considerations [Patch] for 3 schools, and a LEED gold proposed new library that will reduce energy costs from $5.50SF to $2SF [www.tivertonlibrary.org/new building] Hopeful signs. And much easier on the eye--and lungs-- than Brayton Point.
stoney larue June 21, 2011 at 04:36 PM
All that may be true Kathy but it seems as though no one really knows how this deal will benefit the town of Tiverton or is willing to explain it. does the existence of these turbines mean that we wont see an expansion of the poewr plant that is already there or even a new one built?
Jim L June 21, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Norway is blocked from direct ocean winds by another country in front of it, if solar panels where or are so good all the people that got them would still have them up,The Abbey 's windmill is right by the school and there doesn't seem to be complaints from students or others.The wind project is being funded , the solar panels are not, you can build around wind mills, solar panels cover other things and must be kept clean, again given the ups and down hollows and ledges in the industrail park it would be hard to place large buildings in there, take a ride thru Cottrell farm of Fish road and look at the landscape that is what the park looks like.. There are windmills in Boston and surronding town, don't see many solar panels tho, Plus you could put a windmill right buy the police station and public works, but we do have to still wait and see the data OH YEAH BUILD THE LIBRARY
stoney larue June 21, 2011 at 05:36 PM
Jim, are we talking about the same Norway? The one I was talking about is directly on the ocean. I searched the map but could not find any country blocking it. I am very aware of the landscape in the park and my main concern is what will the town get out of it. I am sure we will come out on the short end of the stick in the long run.
Jim L June 21, 2011 at 06:21 PM
for someone's info the Norway i found was blocked from direct ocean winds some small island called England, tiverton winds are blocked by nothing butLittle Compton , i believe Norway faces the Nothern SEA and Tiverton is very close to,I think the Atlantic OCEAN
stoney larue June 21, 2011 at 06:29 PM
JimL, england is over 500 miles from the coast of Norway and sligghly south. That would be like saying our winds are being blocked by Bermuda. I know they must have maps and globes in that old linbrary of ours. Try using one.
Kathy Ryan June 21, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Stoney, You're right on Norway and Sweden. Garry Plunkett has given public reports to the Council. They have been reported in the press. Try contacting him directly. There were other presentations in previous years from Roger Williams staff member Leonidas Pavlides. Below is one of his sources: www.rilin.state.ri.us/documents/jointenergyhearing.pdf Portsmouth has made presentations to the Council as has Portsmouth Abbey. But Garry is the best source and has the most current info. as well as the financial benefits.
Jim L June 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM
Kathy, thank you for the link, good info , the gentleman who heads maintance at the Abbey is a friend of mine and he has nothing but praise for their windmill, also i don't believe our winds are blocked by Bermuda
Garry Plunkett June 22, 2011 at 11:11 PM
There is an excellent article in this week's TIME magazine (6/20), "Breezing In." Some quotations: "Wind is still a relatively small part of the US energy grid; it makes up just 2.4%... "Many other countries are falling in line. The fact is that wind has emerged as the hottest source of green electrical power globally, and its momentum is only going to build in the wake of Japan's ...power plant disaster..." "In the past four years, wind has become the leading source of new electrical power in the US....In some E.U. countries, including Denmark, Portugal and Spain, wind already accounts for anywhere from 11% to 20% of power generation. Meanwhile, the E.U. is working to double the share of energy derived from wind and other renewable sources...by 2020." "...on particularly breezy days, wind-power generation surpasses all other electricity sources in Spain." These quotations only suggest that wind energy is coming on as a major source of renewable energy globally. Whether wind energy development is right for the Tiverton Industrial Park remains to be seen. That question can only be addressed after a year of wind data has been collected and analyzed to see how much energy can be produced, and then compared with what other development is possible at the site.
Jim L June 22, 2011 at 11:39 PM
Someone has to step forward, you can't enter the world if you don't step out the door Since Tiverton has shown to be a good site for a wind farm, to not follow this up would just be a loss to the town, at least let us go with the study with an open mind and with an eye toward the maximum rewards for our town.

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