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Selectmen push new turbine proposal

Hanover’s water supply may soon be wind-powered.

Selectmen, who had been considering the idea of building a wind turbine to produce power for three schools, are now advocating construction of up to three smaller turbines to power the town’s water wells and treatment plant.

In the latest show of interest in wind power on the South Shore, selectmen agreed Tuesday night to ask town meeting for permission to design and build the wind turbines.

The proposed windmills, each roughly 105 feet tall, would be built near the town wells on Riverside Drive and Broadway, and at the town’s water treatment plant on Rockland Street.

“˜”˜They would be smaller windmills, not big, giant ones,” Selectman Daniel Pallotta said.

Hull uses two large wind turbines to produce electricity, and at least six coastal towns are considering wind power as a clean power-generation method.

The smaller turbines would cost $401,000 apiece and be eligible for $225,000 in grants, according to Sustainable Energy Developments Inc., of Ontario, N.Y., the company Norwell hired to examine its wind-power possibilities.

The turbines would pay for themselves in 11 or 12 years, assuming the cost of electricity rises by 3 percent annually, Selectmen Chairman Alan Rugman said.

Selectmen have agreed to apply for grants from the Massachusetts Technology Council; the money would be used to cover design and construction costs.

There will be at least one public forum on the turbine proposal prior to town meeting in May, and the number of turbines the town would build has not been decided, Rugman said.

“˜”˜It depends on what’s available for grants and what the town will support,” he said.

Even a single turbine would enable the town to assess whether building more would be worthwhile, Rugman said.

“˜”˜It’s an up-and-coming industry,” he said. “˜”˜It certainly has enough history by now that people know what it is we’re looking at.”

The board was thinking about building a 246-foot-tall turbine somewhere near the high school, the middle school and the Cedar Elementary School. However, because the school committee controls those buildings and the surrounding fields, selectmen decided not to push forward with the idea before talking with school officials.

Pallotta said he was in favor of a windmill near those schools, but he agreed with the idea of waiting to find out what school officials – and voters – think.

“˜”˜That site is a perfect site for a large windmill, which would generate enough electricity for all three schools,” he said, “˜”˜but I understand it’s under the school committee’s jurisdiction.”

By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger


22 February 2007