The town could become the first municipality in Massachusetts to provide electrical power to a town hall by way of a wind turbine.
A 100-foot tower would take up about one parking space behind Town Hall and pay for itself within four years, according to a presentation before Westport’s Alternative Energy Committee made by Lighthouse Electrical Contracting Inc. of Pembroke.
The $54,000 cost of a wind turbine is potentially partially reimbursable with a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the committee learned. The collaborative is the state’s development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy, which the organization asserts is responsible for a quarter of the jobs in the state.
The Board of Selectmen has asked Paul J. Schmid III, chairman of the Finance Committee, to prepare an application for a grant. A representative from Lighthouse Electrical told energy committee members recently that the town could be eligible for a $42,000 grant, which could shorten the amortization period for the turbine.
Town Administrator Charlene Wood has been preparing the specifications package that would accompany a request for bids to erect a turbine.
The turbine would generate 10 kilowatts for Town Hall. That amount of electricity would reduce the town’s electric bill, said Selectman David P. Dionne, who has been sponsoring a series of energy-saving and environmentally beneficial energy alternatives.
“On top of being the right thing to do with the issue of global warming and the other issues attached to electricity generation, this is a hugely promising program for the town,” Mr. Dionne said late last week.
Any electricity generated by the three-blade turbine that is not used by the town – such as on weekends when the building is closed – and added into the electricity grid system will be credited to the town at a retail rate, Mr. Dionne said.
Ordinarily, the wholesale rate is credited to electricity generating systems, but this unit would have such low kilowatts that it would receive the higher rate, Mr. Dionne said.
A similar wind turbine is in use at Sylvan Nursery at 1028 Horseneck Road, Mr. Dionne said.
By Joseph R. LaPlante, Standard-Times staff writer
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