CHARLESTOWN -- With a six-month moratorium on wind energy facility applications in effect, a proposal to install turbines in Ninigret Park to offset municipal energy costs will not go forward as planned.
The Town Council voted to March 14 to institute the new moratorium, which went into effect the next day, after also approving a new ordinance on wind energy. This is the second moratorium of its kind in Charlestown. Last November, a similar one was approved by the council after its member were sworn-in. That one, however, was only for four months.
And the reason behind making that moratorium just four months was to not impede progress being made by the Washington County Regional Planning Council. The organization approached Charlestown last year when it was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.
Those funds were intended to go toward installing two wind turbines in Ninigret Park as a means of offsetting energy costs accrued by the municipality in buildings owned in town and within the Chariho Regional School District.
But it became clear following the news of the moratorium that the project could not go forward as planned.
Jeffrey Broadhead, executive director of the planning council, explained that the grant had a time limit. He said that the organization had to submit a report on the grant that guaranteed the project would be finished by March 2012, like many other grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“But a wind power project takes longer than that and with the six-month moratorium, I couldn't file a report that stated the project would be finished," Broadhead said. "And I didn't want to put the state in the position to rescind the grant.”
More information is available in this week's edition of The Chariho Times