Millbury Selectmen Table Wind Turbine For Butler Farms

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The Millbury Board of Selectmen pose with the Millbury Girls Volleyball team. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri

MILLBURY, Mass. — A proposal for a wind turbine at Butler Farm was tabled because the site is just not windy enough for it to be economically viable, the Millbury Board of Selectmen decided Tuesday night.  

A feasibility study was presented to the selectmen by Johanna Hall, an engineer from Weston and Sampson. The study from August 2011 to August 2012 was based on many factors, with the engineering firm collecting data on wind speed, environmental review and a sound assessment as well as the cost involved.

The potential costs ranged from $800,000 to $4.1 million, Hall said. Though technically feasible, the turbine was economically not viable. But during the year of testing, the average wind speed at Butler Farms — even at 40 meters in height — was significantly lower than anticipated, she said.

Selectmen Brian Stowell made a motion to table the turbine proposal, and the motion passed. Chairman E. Bernard Plante thanked the committee members for their work. “I’m glad we did the feasibility study prior to moving forward with anything,” he said. 

In other business, the board approved a joint pole petition by Verizon Wireless to place three new poles on South Oxford Road that would connect Millbury with Oxford. However, the board passed the petition with the stipulation that Verizon meet with a landowner to move three poles (63, 65 and 66) of the project.

The landowner has three access roads that allow logging trucks on his property. The location of the three poles and guy wires may interfere with the trucks' access. Verizon has agreed to meet with the owner and move the poles, if necessary.

Before the meeting started, the selectmen honored the Millbury girls volleyball team that won the district finals and went to the state championship game before falling to Lynnfield. Millbury is proud of the team, and residents take their sports seriously, Plante said.

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Comments (7)

Liberal:

Ahhhhh, for FiOS. Now that’s understandable, people love FiOS, Literally they have some towns begging for it, as they probably are in that part of Qxford. But Verizon says NO! You can’t have it! Especially if your town has given Verizon a hard time in the past. All they will give you is DSL. Someone up there must know a Verizon “turf” Engineer who wrote the job as an extension of service from the favored good people of Millbury, one of the first towns to get FiOS.

sbalestrieri:

Should have specified, I believe it is for Fios (poles connecting Oxford to Millbury)

Liberal:

One other thing: I believe it's Verizon Land Line that wants to place the poles. I am an RF Engineer and know a few Verizon people, and they would tell you that Verizon Wireless doesn't have much use for wires and poles. That's why they're called "Wire Less". Their entire business model is based on doing away with all the wires and poles. Verizon Wireless might put up a cell tower at Butler Farm, but they hate wires and poles.

Liberal:

Don't be so hard on yourself Tom, The buildings have been preserved. We get plenty of revenue from renting the cell tower space, probably even more in the future. You've got the beautiful community gardens in the summer. We've preserved the open space. All good. So you're not Nostradamus. We've got a lifetime full of time to do something with Butler Farm.

Tom Reilly:

I predicted at the time of the study's inception that this turbine was simply too big, too expensive and in the wrong place.

Nothing wrong with trying new ideas but it would have changed the character of Butler Farm.

By the way, I am still underwhelmed by how the town has used this property since we bought it over ten years ago. Compare the revitalization of Marion's Camp to the stagnation of the Butler Farm and you get a sense of my frustration.

And I can't even let myself entirely off the hook as I spoke in favor of buying the farm at the town meeting that approved it. I just feel like it should have amounted to more.

sbalestrieri:

Was actually really surprised at how low the wind speeds were even at a 40 meter height. With the top of the hill at Butler Farms and Singletary Lake across the street, you would think, it would have been much higher.

Liberal:

Too bad, all of Millbury's wind must be down at town hall. But seriously, though it would have been symbolically cool, if it's not feasible, it's not feasible. This is one good thing about Millbury, major outlays are always scrutinized before proceeding and usually common sense prevails. Unlike our neighbor to the north who spends $$ on an terminal building for an airport that has no road to it and no planes once you do get there. Then gives up and sells it to Massport anyway. On the bright side, Millbury's solar farm is proceeding as planned, and we still get revenue from tower space at Butler.

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