WESTPORT – Town Meeting voters in May will be asked to allocate more than $100,000 to purchase and construct twin wind turbines behind Town Hall and the police station.
The 100-foot towers each would take up the equivalent of about one parking space behind the municipal buildings on Main Road.
The turbines are expected to cost $54,000 each, but according to a report from the town’s Alternative Energy Committee would pay for themselves in four years or less.
The cost of the turbines could be partially reimbursable with a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the committee learned. Grants of more than $42,000 per wind turbine are available.
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.
Last month, the selectmen unanimously approved going forward with the plan, and instructed Town Administrator Charlene Wood to prepare a request for proposals for the windmills.
While Selectman David P. Dionne, who also is a member of the alternative energy committee, pushed the wind turbine issue, Police Chief Keith Pelletier pursued the idea independently.
Although the 31-year-old police station has been described by the town’s Public Safety Complex Committee as inadequate for the needs of police and unsuitable for the department’s work, a wind turbine there still makes sense, Chief Pelletier asserted.
“Regardless of whether we are here, this will always be a town building used by another department, and the wind turbine will save money on the electric bill and it is good for the environment,” the chief said.
The turbine would generate 10 kilowatts for each building. That amount of electricity would reduce the town’s electric bill, said Mr. Dionne, who has sponsored a series of energy-saving and environmentally beneficial energy alternatives.
Any electricity generated by the three-blade turbines 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 these units would have such low kilowatts that town is eligible for 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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