PLYMOUTH – Even in the calm of summer, the wind blows hard enough at the Plymouth County Farm to power a wind turbine.
Initial results from a 50-meter monitoring tower on the county property show that the wind averaged 11 mph in the three-month period from June through August.
Although 11 mph is not enough to be ideal for wind power, the figure is impressive given that it came from what is considered ‘‘the doldrums’’ period, said Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald, who wants to install a wind turbine at the county jail on Long Pond Road to defray the facility’s utility costs.
In New England, the wind is strongest during the winter, according to the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts. The lab is conducting the wind study for the county.
The next results, due in January, should show higher wind speeds, and the speeds should be even higher between January and March.
The monitoring tower is at the county farm. Although the jail is on the other side of Route 3, the tower is close enough to the jail for the testing to be accurate, McDonald said.
Town officials are considering having wind turbines installed at the adjacent wastewater treatment plant to help power that facility.
If that proposal moves ahead, the county’s data could serve the town’s purposes as well, McDonald said. He met with town officials this week to discuss the early test results.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative provided McDonald and the town with grant money for wind testing.
Town officials will use the town’s money to test sites at Plymouth South High School and the Indian Brook Elementary School and develop business models for wind generation.
Town Manager Mark Sylvia said Plymouth’s energy committee is working with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to test wind resources at the two school sites.
Sylvia and McDonald say the town and county need to coordinate wind projects to benefit both entities.
By Tamara Race
13 December 2007
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