I know what it is like to work on a Newburyport civic project, to be completely committed to a Newburyport civic project for years, and then have an incredible Newburyport public backlash. It’s not fun.
So I understand how our elected and civic Newburyport officials might feel, working on the Wind Energy Conversion Ordinance that made the current 292 foot wind turbine in Newburyport’s Industrial Park possible, and how the backlash (which is significant) could also make them feel.
My first reaction to a very vocal Newburyport public backlash was that people just didn’t understand, that this was a solution to a very complex problem and that people would come around.
Not only did most people not come around, but the project was derailed, lost funding, may be put off for decades, that civic employment was lost, and a significant amount of distrust from the public still lingers on.
And the sense that I get from folks who have worked hard on the Newburyport Wind Energy Ordinance that made the 292 foot Newburyport wind turbine possible, is that they might feel, in someway, the way I felt–i.e. very much committed and wedded to the concept.
Please, if possible, learn from my experience. It’s really hard to let go of something that has so much passion and reason behind it. But if another huge wind turbine would be put up in Newburyport’s Industrial Park, my guess is that the pitchforks might come out with even more force. My sense is that the Newburyport Wind Energy Ordinance has the potential of causing an even greater fissure within the city of Newburyport, MA if another industrial size wind turbine would be erected.
And the very, very good news is that we have a mandate from the President of the Untied States to make wind energy work. That communities all over the globe are experiencing the same conflict that Newburyport, MA is–an ambivalence about having an industrial size wind turbine near a populated area. All kinds of incredibly innovative ideas are in the works and being funded to make wind energy that is more effective and more in scale with the cities and towns in which we live.
So I would urge the Newburyport City Council to be open to rethinking the Wind Energy Ordinance that will be discussed in a public meeting this Tuesday, March 31 at 7PM at City Hall Auditorium.
Making sure that we as a city have the trust of the citizens of Newburyport, MA could be essential in making sure Newburyport, MA has long term, vibrant and viable wind energy projects.