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Hull tilts toward more turbines: Town wants to put 4 windmills 2 miles offshore  

Hull’s two power-generating windmills could be getting some company as soon as 2008. The town’s municipal light department wants to build four wind turbines about two miles offshore.

Town meeting will have the final say on the proposal.

But the project recently passed one hurdle, according to John MacLeod, who until retiring recently was operations manager of the municipal lighting plant.

MacLeod, who is now a consultant, said the Massachusetts Technical Collaborative has approved, in principle, spending $1.7 million on planning.

Costs include wind and wave studies and test borings into the ocean floor that are necessary for the environmental permitting process, MacLeod said.

Hull is also seeking money for items such as siting and equipment design and selection, according to its 43-page funding application.

The offshore wind farm project’s goal is “˜”˜to power the town substantially by nonpolluting, renewable wind power,” the application states.

The quasi-public agency’s board in June approved a loan for up to $1.7 million, according to Gregory C. Watson, vice president for sustainable development and renewable energy in the collaborative’s Hyannis office.

A contract for the loan still needs to be completed.

Locating wind turbines on water is more complicated than dealing with a land site, MacLeod said.

The site proposed for the wind turbines would be about two miles east of A Street on Harding Ledge.

“˜”˜They’ll be similar in appearance and size to Hull Wind II,” MacLeod said, referring to the larger of the two existing wind turbine towers. That three-blade wind turbine is about 330 feet high, which includes about 60 or 70 feet of added height from sitting atop a hill of capped rubbish, MacLeod noted.

Municipal light officials plan to produce photographic simulations to show residents how the four offshore wind turbines will look from land, MacLeod said.

Public meetings will be scheduled to inform residents of Hingham, Cohasset and Hull about the proposal, he said.

MacLeod estimated the wind farm project could cost $30 million overall.

Town meeting could be asked next spring whether the project should go forward and, if it approves, would be asked to approve bonding, he said.

By The Patriot Ledger staff


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