Second wind turbine razed marking end of Falmouth renewable energy project. Here's why

EDITOR'S NOTE: A correction to a photograph caption was made in this story on Oct. 6, 2022, to identify a wind turbine in a nearby business park. 

WEST FALMOUTH —  The second Falmouth wind turbine came crashing down on Wednesday morning.

The boom from the crash sounded like thunder.

There were very few onlookers. The town did not share information about the date and time of the demolition publicly to avoid having a large crowd gather, according to Peter Johnson-Staub, who is the acting town manager.

Barry Funfar, who lives about 1,500 feet from the turbine, was able to watch the structure come down from his rooftop deck.

A neighbor, who wished to be unnamed and lives 800 feet from Falmouth's Wind 2 turbine, brought along a cell phone to document the turbine's demolition on Wednesday in West Falmouth. The structure was brought down precisely at 10 a.m. in a slow, 14-second fall by Atlantic Coast Dismantling, based in Saugus.

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Although Funfar said the operation of the turbines ruined seven years of his life, seeing the turbine fall was anticlimatic.

"I'm not feeling any real jump for joy," Funfar said.

The real victory, he said, came in 2017 when turbine operations were permanently stopped due to a court order.

The remains of Falmouth Wind 2 turbine, at the top of the photo, can be seen on the town sewer treatment plant property in West Falmouth, in a drone view.

One woman came by the wastewater treatment plant to watch Wind 2 fall, and even brought a beach chair to help savor the moment.

Although she reiterated a similar grievance as Funfar, she wasn't sure how to feel about the turbine coming down.

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"It's a loss all around," she said, referring to the capital funds wasted by the town on a failed project.

Another man who arrived to watch was not a neighbor of the turbine and came for a bit of good, clean fun.

The two turbines, named Wind 1 and Wind 2, were installed in 2010. Loans to build Wind 1 totaled about $6.6 million, while loans for Wind 2 totaled $4.9 million.

Why the turbines are coming down

The turbines were intended to help the town decrease the use of fossil fuels, lower the cost of energy, and power the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

However, the operation of the two turbines was followed by multiple lawsuits from neighbors who wanted to permanently shut them down.

On Wednesday, demolition crews rip apart the Falmouth Wind 1 turbine, which was toppled last week, as Wind 2 was brought to the ground exactly at 10 a.m. The turbine in the background is in a nearby business park.

Neighbors said they experienced health problems from their proximity to the turbines, such as anxiety, headaches, problems sleeping, and excessive noise.

After several years of legal battles, the Select Board voted in 2017 to cease operations of the turbines, following a decision by a Barnstable Superior Court judge who said the turbines were a nuisance to neighbors.

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The town struggled to find a way to find another use for the turbines or dispose of them for several years. Finally, in 2022, the town hired Atlantic Coast Dismantling LLC to demolish the two turbines. The contract was for around $40,000, though the town may end up paying more for site restoration and electric work.

The Wind 1 turbine was brought down last week.

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This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Falmouth wind turbine demolition ends town renewable energy project