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$575K powers wind turbine plan  

Efforts to put a wind turbine on the campus of Holy Name Central Catholic Junior Senior High School earned a major boost last week with the award of $575,000 from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

The grant will cover a big chunk of the project’s $1.6 million cost, and Stephen A. Perla, superintendent of the Diocese of Worcester Catholic Schools, says he is optimistic about raising the remaining $1 million.

“I think that the nature of the project is such that there’s a lot of interest in this type of alternative energy,” he said.

The grant was for the maximum amount possible, said Warren Leon, director of the Renewable Energy Trust, a division of the Westboro-based Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

In its decision, the group considered how much electricity the proposal would produce, the likelihood of its success, the quality of the project team and the project’s public influence, he said. The trust gets its money from a small charge on electricity bills (except those from municipal light companies).

“It’s the first time we have funded a wind turbine project not at a business and not at a state facility,” Mr. Leon said. “It’s impressive that “¦ they were able to focus on the important issue of energy and put together a great proposal.”

Holy Name’s grant is one of 19 in the most recent round of the trust’s Large Onsite Renewables Initiative.

The Holy Name turbine was the only wind project and the only Central Massachusetts project to receive a grant in this round.

The school had help from students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; the Sisters of St. Anne, Holy Name’s founding order, which paid for specifications from Sustainable Energy Developments of Ontario, N.Y.; and from U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, who put the school and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in touch with each other.

The turbine, which could be completed as soon as November 2007, would sit on the school’s windy Granite Street campus. It still needs city approval. It would stand 262 feet tall to the tip of the highest blade and generate enough electricity to power approximately 135 homes, according to the technology collaborative.

The school will use 54 percent of the power and send the rest into the electric grid.

The school plans to hold public hearings for residents, Mr. Perla said.

Contact Jacqueline Reis at jreis@telegram.com.

telegram.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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