Hingham officials’ quest to make wind energy part of the town’s power supply is moving forward.
John Tzimorangas, general manager of the municipal lighting plant, said Lighthouse Electric, a Rhode Island company, has been chosen to supply and install an anemometer and analyze wind-speed data.
The anemometer, a device used to measure the strength of wind, will be set at the top of a thin, 164-foot-tall pole at the former landfill on Hobart Street. It will likely remain up for 12 months, producing wind-speed data through all four seasons.
The data will indicate whether the site would be a viable location for turbine.
Tzimorangas said the total cost of the anemometer and analysis will be between $20,000 and $23,000 of the $30,000 that was budgeted.
The next step will be to meet with town boards to secure any needed permits. The process of submitting paperwork to the zoning board of appeals is under way, Tzimorangas said.
What kinds of permits will be needed is not clear, but a height variance will probably be necessary because the pole will be almost 130 feet taller than the maximum allowable height for structures.
Tzimorangas said the lighting plant is working closely with town Zoning Administrator Jane Santosuosso and hopes to get through the hearing process in the next few months.
Tzimorangas said he understands that some people are eager to move the process along, but it will take some time.
“˜”˜I think some folks, people on the wind committee, would love to see us set it up there ASAP because it takes time to get the data,” he said. “˜”˜As we said in the beginning, we want to do this correctly and make sure people are involved.”
That could include putting real-time wind-speed information on the light plant’s Web site, Tzimorangas said.
The lighting plant and the Hingham Wind Committee have long been discussing the use of wind power in town. In early April, they co-sponsored a public meeting to introduce the concept and explain the basics of wind power.
The landfill was one of three potential turbine sites selected by Sally Wright of the Renewable Energy Research Lab at the University of Massachusetts. The others were South Shore Country Club, which is not far from the former landfill, and the South Shore Industrial Park in South Hingham.
Proponents favored these locations over windier spots like Turkey Hill because they do not want a turbine to disturb residents.
The information collected at the landfill will be applicable to areas within a 2-mile radius, including the country club.
More than a dozen South Shore cities and towns are in the exploratory or planning stages of using wind energy. Hull has two turbines and wants to add at least four.
By Karen Goulart
The Patriot Ledger
25 May 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding