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Wind generation at landfill under consideration by Selectmen

The Board of Selectmen is considering erecting one or more windmills at the Madaket landfill in order to generate enough electricity to power the solid waste recycling, composting and disposal operation.

On Tuesday, during a goal-setting session, the Selectmen unanimously agreed to add a new priority to its list: “Explore wind power generation at the solid waste facility.”

While the massive Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound has generated much of the attention regarding the budding wind-energy industry, smaller land-based ventures have been sprouting in other coastal communities around Massachusetts.

“It’s happening all over ““ towns are doing it ““ and obviously it’s windy here and it could power most of the facility out there,” Selectman Michael Kopko said. “It’s forward-looking, and yes, it’s expensive out of the gate, but they save you money over the long run.” The town of Hull, Mass., has erected two land-based wind turbines and was recently honored by the federal Department of Energy with a “Wind Power Pioneer Award.”

In 2001, the South Shore town installed a 660-kilowatt turbine on its harborfront property, and in 2006 another 1.8-megawatt turbine was built on a closed landfill. Together, the turbines supply over 10 percent of the town’s energy needs and power its street and traffic lights.

The prospect of erecting wind turbines at the dump was discussed at a recent meeting between town officials and the state Department of Environmental Protection’s southeast regional director David Ellis in Lakeville, Mass.

“We were there to talk about other things, and we just kind of tossed that out near the end of the conversation and the DEP guy was pretty excited about it,” Kopko said. “They like alternative energy up at the DEP.”

Kopko emphasized that there was no definitive plan to erect wind turbines at the landfill, and the board was simply exploring the idea.

“We haven’t really taken a single step forward on it, but Brian (Chadwick) and I have been talking about it for quite awhile,” Kopko said. “But I don’t imagine it’s too difficult if it’s something we really want to do.”

Earlier this month, the Historic District Commission approved the placement of a wind turbine at Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm, and is also considering an application for a residential wind turbine on Morgan Square, between Field and Folger avenues. The proposed two-blade windmill at Bartlett’s would be 135 feet tall. A smaller 39-foot, three-bladed turbine is proposed for 3 Morgan Square.

In a recent interview, John Bartlett said he had been mulling the idea of generating wind power for some time and finally found a turbine made by a Dutch company that would fit the farm’s needs.

Bartlett said he hopes to construct a mini-grid for producing and distributing electricity on the farm, but it would remain connected to the conventional power grid source supplied by National Grid and would both give and take, depending on how hard the wind is blowing and how much energy the farm is using.

“It has the potential to supply all of our energy needs,” said Bartlett of the turbine which would cost in the neighborhood of $600,000. “We’re looking into securing grants to help pay for it.”

Bartlett said the turbine should have a life-span of around 20 years, and would be located near the main farmstand on the Bartlett property but far enough from abutting property lines so in the event it fell down, it would fall within the Bartlett Farm property.

By Jason Graziadei
I&M Staff Writer

The Inquirer and Mirror

24 May 2007