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Bill Carson
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Falmouth Wind Turbine Litigation 1.8 Million

" With this funding, MassCEC seeks to help the town recover costs associated with project curtailment. To date the town has incurred unexpected costs resulting from community concerns, voluntary reductions in operation due to unanticipated sound levels and related litigation."

Related Litigation --


Energy Officials Approve Relief Funding for Falmouth Community Wind Project
Announcement Date:
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Location:
BOSTON
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Board of Directors today approved up to $1.8 million in relief funds for the Town of Falmouth to help the municipality mitigate the financial impacts associated with the reduced operations of its town-owned wind turbine project located at the Town of Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Plant.

With this funding, MassCEC seeks to help the town recover costs associated with project curtailment. To date the town has incurred unexpected costs resulting from community concerns, voluntary reductions in operation due to unanticipated sound levels and related litigation.

“The state wants to be a resource to communities to seek to balance their clean energy goals with the specific needs of their communities. We are hopeful that this settlement will help this community move forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors.

“We hope this funding will help the town recover some of the unexpected financial costs associated with the reductions in operation of their wind project,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.

http://www.masscec.com/technology-programs/commonwealth-wind?page=1

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2016

U.S. Department of Energy Regional Resource Centers Report: State of the Wind Industry in the Regions

Ruth Baranowski, Frank Oteri, Ian Baring-Gould, and Suzanne Tegen
National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Page 35

5.6.3 Massachusetts
At the end of 2015, Massachusetts had 107 MW of installed wind capacity (American Wind Energy Association 2015e). The single project constructed in 2014 was the Lynn Water & Sewer Commission’s 660-kW turbine (American Wind Energy Association 2015m). The project was partially funded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which continues to support installations in the state through its Commonwealth Wind Program.29 Several projects were initiated in 2015 with expected commissioning in 2016, including the 8-MW Future Generation Wind project in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Mass Energy Consumers Alliance 2016).

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center also approved up to $1.8 million in relief assistance for the Town of Falmouth to financially assist the municipality as it attempts to navigate the impacts associated with reduced operations of the town’s wind project. Community concerns surrounding sound impacts led to curtailment and unanticipated costs (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center 2014).


PDF]US Department of Energy Regional - NREL
www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/62942.pdf
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Falmouth Massachusetts Wind Turbine Municipal Risks

Risk Planning Wind Turbines Solar - Massachusetts Municipal Activities

Heather Harper: “We took on a huge risk and I think we were successful but we’re a large community and I think we can take on that risk,”

Credit: By Staff reports, The Cape Codder, www.wickedlocal.com 10 September 2010 ~~

“We took on a huge risk and I think we were successful but we’re a large community and I think we can take on that risk,” observed Falmouth assistant town manager Heather Harper.

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/09/11/brewster-officials-take-a-wind-turbine-tour/

Falmouth assistant town manager Heather Harper was assigned to manage Falmouth Wind I
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Subject: Risk Planning Wind Turbines Solar Massachusetts Municipal Activities

MIIA - the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association
Massachusetts-

Many cities and towns are now exploring alternative energy programs through local installation of wind turbines and solar panels, either as direct sources for town buildings or as leases of municipal property to a utility company.

Alternative energy programs can certainly yield efficiency and savings, but safety and risk management must be part of big-picture planning.

If not, liability-associated costs could outweigh the return on investment.

Risk planning for nonstandard municipal activities | Massachusetts ...
https://www.mma.org/risk-planning-nonstandard-municipal-activities
Sep 2, 2015 - In the case of wind turbines, local residents have at times taken issue with associated noise, and the windmills


Risk planning for nonstandard municipal activities
September 2, 2015
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Municipal governments are accustomed to promoting safety and managing risk related to traditional city and town functions such as police work, setting up work zones, and building maintenance. It is routine to access and leverage best practices, get employees the training they need to be prepared, and plan budgets accordingly.

With more outside-the-box activities – innovative town events, alternative energy systems, creative learning methods in schools, and other programs – careful consideration must be given to potential liability issues as well as long-term costs.

Potential exposures
When it comes to events, liability problems can arise anytime municipal property is involved, particularly when a festival or fair becomes an “official” city or town function. Vendor involvement, alcohol sampling, and participation by municipal employees – even when they are acting as volunteers on their own time – are all important factors to examine. If a visitor is overserved and gets into a vehicle accident, or if someone is injured on site, the municipality could potentially be liable for damages.

Sporting events and recreational leagues sponsored by a city or town are also areas where liability exposures can occur.

Many cities and towns are now exploring alternative energy programs through local installation of wind turbines and solar panels, either as direct sources for town buildings or as leases of municipal property to a utility company. Alternative energy programs can certainly yield efficiency and savings, but safety and risk management must be part of big-picture planning. If not, liability-associated costs could outweigh the return on investment.

Rooftop solar panels can affect electrical operations, snow and ice accumulation, and firefighter response procedures and safety (if, for example, a roof needs to be vented in case of a fire).

In the case of wind turbines, local residents have at times taken issue with associated noise, and the windmills can become a draw for mischievous – and potentially destructive – young neighbors.

Another area where exposures arise is in schools. In addition to getting more technologically savvy, schools are going way beyond traditional methods of teaching by incorporating overnight and even international field trips, onsite obstacle courses, pets in classrooms, and other imaginative activities. While they have a wide range of benefits and can help teachers illustrate a variety of different lessons, these outside-the-box teaching methods can also present new liability concerns that should – and can – be addressed.

Field trip accidents and obstacle course injuries can occur, and fish tanks in school classrooms can catch fire. In fact, fish tank fires, which are mostly caused by faulty maintenance practices, are a surprisingly common claim seen at MIIA.

Think through “what ifs”
Innovative strategies that help residents and improve quality of life – and, in cases such as alternative energy, have a positive impact on the city or town’s bottom line – are a cornerstone of modern municipal planning. Just as with more traditional functions of government, however, every possible “what if” should be fully thought through with regard to potential safety issues, bodily injury, structural damage, liability exposures, and associated costs.

Consider whether the municipality needs and wants to implement the program. Is it essential? Is it important to the local community and its residents? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then determine whether there is a way to transfer risk to another party.

If alcohol is being served at an event, closely review vendor contracts and ensure that the vendors themselves will be held liable for overserved guests, rather than the municipal government entity. Post disclaimers where possible to mitigate liability.

One MIIA member town wanted to help local residents with their recovery efforts after a destructive tornado several years ago, so the town sponsored a website for locals to trade goods and services. The town effectively transferred risk by including a disclaimer on the website, noting that the town wasn’t liable for private deals made between individuals.

In cases where risk cannot be transferred, make plans to manage it. If a wind turbine installation is being planned, for example, budget for a fence around the structure and for “high voltage” signs to be posted to discourage vandalism. Also plan for regular professional maintenance.

For classroom fish tanks, hire an outside company to conduct regular maintenance checks, thereby managing risk and potentially transferring liability.

For streamlined handling of all scenarios, identify one well-qualified person on the municipal staff to act as a funnel for reviewing and approving all municipal contracts. This employee, preferably with legal and/or risk management experience, can take a close look at every document and proposed program to ensure that all details are considered – and that rogue contracts aren’t being signed by various departments.

Finally, be sure to contact your municipal insurance provider upfront to find out what is covered and what is not. In some circumstances, your provider may recommend securing additional coverage from a specialized insurer if needed. In the end, it is better to find out ahead of time that a program isn’t covered by your insurance plan, rather than being surprised after a problem arises.

Written by
MIIA Senior Risk Management Representative Bob Marinelli

https://www.mma.org/risk-planning-nonstandard-municipal-activities

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