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City mulls wind power to cut costs

ATTLEBORO – It may turn out to be pie in the sky, but Mayor Kevin Dumas is looking at wind power to help cut one of the city’s biggest electric bills.

With the departments of water and wastewater spending $1 million a year for electricity to run the 24-hour, 365-day operations, he’s eager to consider the use of wind turbines to help reduce the hefty costs.

“It’s going to be interesting. I’m excited about looking at it,” the mayor said. “Even if it doesn’t turn out to be viable in the end.”

But Dumas said the possible advantages are too big to ignore.

“It could be very advantageous even if we need some upfront money,” he said.

Dumas is hoping to win a grant from the state to help pay for a turbine if it’s determined to be a feasible idea.

He said in some cases wind turbines pay for themselves in a year. After that, a turbine would save the city money making it available to spend on other services.

Dumas has assigned the research task to Paul Kennedy, the city’s superintendent of wastewater.

One of the biggest questions to be answered is whether the city has enough wind to make a wind turbine pay.

Wind turbines have been in the news a lot lately.

Officials in North Attleboro are considering the use of wind power for their town. Turbines are being considered for Sunrise Hill in World War I Memorial Park.

Meanwhile, a proposal to study the feasibility of wind power in Rehoboth was rejected by town meeting voters because of the cost.

But wind turbines have been installed in coastal towns such as Hull and Bourne.

Hull has two, one of which it uses to power street lights and traffic signals.

In Bourne a wind turbine has been built at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

According to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative there are 129 wind power projects being considered around the state and many are from municipalities.

By George W. Rhodes
Sun Chronicle Staff


21 May 2007