Many Cape Cod residents do not want a giant offshore wind farm in the waters of Nantucket Sound.
But Orleans is plowing ahead with separate plans to install two giant wind turbines in a small town forest to generate electricity for its water treatment and pumping stations – with enough energy left over to feed electricity into the regional power grid.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-government entity that promotes new energy technologies, has filed proposals with state environmental regulators to construct two 400-foot turbines on a town-owned hilltop within a forested watershed area.
The agency is working closely with the Cape town of Orleans, which sees the project as potentially reducing its water-treatment electric bills by $100,000 or more a year.
If the project proceeds as planned, Orleans would lease its land to a private developer to install the turbines at an estimated cost of $7.1 million. The developer would be given tax credits and other financial incentives to build the wind-powered electric generators.
There’s at least some irony to the project, considering so many Cape and Islands residents, including many in Orleans, have bitterly opposed the huge Cape Wind proposal for about 140 turbines off the coast of Cape Cod.
But George Meservey, planning director for Orleans, said the two projects don’t compare, except for the use of large windmills.
“That’s just a completely different animal,” said Meservey, of the Cape Wind project, now going through a lengthy and highly contentious regulatory process.
“The (Orleans) project is hidden among the woods,” he said. “The other (Cape Wind) project will be seen by people on the waterfront.”
Other towns have either installed or are looking at installing windmills to generate clean and inexpensive energy. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy has built a wind turbine on its Cape campus, helped also by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
Orleans residents, who have already signaled tentative approval to move ahead with the turbine project, must give final approval at a Town Meeting after a developer is selected.
By Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald General Economics Reporter
26 March 2007
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