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HDC approves 169-foot wind turbine for Bartlett's

The Historic District Commission has given Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm permission to put up a wind turbine that could be as tall as 169 feet from the ground to the top of the rotors.

Bartlett’s co-owner, John Bartlett, said he plans to put the wind turbine south of the farmstand.

The HDC is also considering the application of Ana Van Winters and Robert Tempkin of 3 Morgan Square for a 39-foot wind turbine. As of the commission’s May 1 meeting, the HDC still needed to view that property.

With monthly electricity bills of about $8,000, Bartlett said he would like to get off the list of National Grid’s 20 biggest customers as soon as he can.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about doing just so we can bring some stability to our energy costs and I think it’s a good fit with our business and what we do,” he said.

Bartlett will get the farm’s turbine from Wind Energy Solutions of the Netherlands. It is expected to cost the farm around $600,000, but he hopes to make back the investment in about six years. Confident that the turbine will power the farmstand’s energy needs – the primary consumer of electricity at the farm – Bartlett said he also hopes to explore other forms of renewable energy sources.

“I have looked at some solar. I haven’t found anybody to work on that yet,” he said. “I use a lot of hot water heat for the greenhouses. I’ve also been looking

at some geothermal [options]. But, I’m looking at solar for hot water production more than for electrical.”

In 1983, a group of investors from EnerTech leased land south of the farmstand where they initially put up three wind turbines. They added five more two years later. The turbines generated 200 kilowatts that went back into the electrical grid, not directly to Bartlett’s Farm. When the investment group dissolved, the Bartletts dismantled the turbines that did not hold up well in the salty, erratic winds along Nantucket’s south shore.

When Bartlett’s new wind turbine is up and spinning, the electricity it produces will power the farmstand and other needs of the farm. Any excess power, according to Dave Fredericks, vice president of National Grid, makes Bartlett’s electric meter run backwards, putting power back into the grid and creating a credit on Bartlett’s account for power it would draw out of the grid on less windy days.

“It is the same with any form of co-generation. The ability for someone to generate electricity and sell it back to the utilities has always been there,” said Fredericks.

With his HDC certificate of appropriateness in hand, Bartlett also needs a building permit for the structure and a special permit from the Planning Board.

Nantucket has a bylaw governing the use of wind turbines for both commercial and residential uses. Residential wind turbines can be used, as referenced in Section 139.21 of the Town Code, in the LUG-1, LUG-2, LUG-3, R-10, R-2 and RC-2 zoning districts and commercial wind turbines in the LUG- 1, LUG-2, LUG-3 and RC-2 zoning districts. For both uses, the wind turbines’ guy wires’ minimum distance from the property line must be 15 feet, and the turbine bases protected from tampering by a fence. The bylaw also requires that a turbine is installed the same distance as its height from the ground to the top of its rotors from the nearest property setback line, ensuring that if it falls, it will fall on the user’s land.

Wind turbines 60 feet and taller for residential use require a special permit from the Planning Board, as do all commercially used turbines.

By Peter B. Brace
Independent Writer


9 May 2007