Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

 Proposed layout for 3.7 megawatt array

 Newer 56 acre closed landfill is lined and currently home to transfer station

About 60 people showed up this evening for the town's "Community Information Session On Solar" and the vast majority of them were in favor of solar installations on the town's closed landfills -- more so on the newer of the two.

 Town Manager John Musante:  "Our efforts to be green continues"

About a half dozen Amherst Woods residents, however, voiced the usual complaints about ye old landfill: An environmental catastrophe would be brought on by building a solar array on the unlined landfill with a Walmart quality cap.

 Sun Edison has an impressive resume

The Town Manager can negotiate a deal with Sun Edison on the old landfill because Town Meeting granted him that authority back in 2011 even though that particular deal fell through due to NIMBY concerns.  He would need Town Meeting approval to negotiate over the new landfill which seemed to have pretty strong support.

Last year the town and schools spent $1.373 million in electricity costs and if the 3.7 megawatt deal goes through Amherst would get around $75,000 Payment In Lieu Of Taxes on the solar array plus savings on electricity of $130,000 per year or a total annual gain to taxpayers of $205,000.

Plus we would be walking the walk of a "green community."

Smaller layout for old 53 acre landfill (to keep NIMBYs happy) would generate anywhere from 1.7 to 3.3 megawatts
Old landfill has higher concentration of nearby (vociferous) neighbors

The 30%  Federal Tax Credits expire in December, 2016 so this project must have panels on the ground by then in order to work.  And the bureaucratic hurdles are many:  Select Board, Finance Committee and then Town Meeting approval.

 Sandy Pooler:  "The first thing we want to do is have another meeting"

A Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (that requires a unanimous vote of all three members) is also a major hurdle and possibly Conservation Commission approval, and of course a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection.

But mainly town officials need to win the hearts and minds of neighbors motivated by self interest, or a lawsuit will once again become the weapon of choice.

 Not overly large crowd in attendance but 90% were supportive


Anonymous said...

New landfill makes the most sense, as it can be capped appropriately with the solar farm in mind, and capped better than the old landfill was due to improvements in the process.

Larry Kelley said...

The newer closed landfill was capped a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I believe when the old landfill was capped the bottom was unlined.

Anonymous said...

Did he really say "Our efforts to be green continues??"" My God, the grammar.