State environmental officials today gave an initial approval to the nation’s first grouping of offshore wind turbines, to be built off the coast of Hull, 1.5 miles east of Nantasket Beach.
A decision by Ian Bowles, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, opens the way for Hull to build four power-generating windmills capable of producing enough electricity to power the town.
The turbines are planned to be built on a shoal known as Harding’s Ledge, and would be the first offshore series of wind turbines in the country.
Hull already operates two land-based turbines, which generate enough power to meet about 12 percent of Hull’s electricity demand.
The offshore turbines would be able to produce a total of 15 megawatts of power, enough to meet all of the town’s demand for electricity, according to the Wellesley company hired by Hull to develop the plan.
With few options for additional land-based turbines in Hull, the town hopes to use offshore turbine technology developed and popularized in Europe.
A $1.7 million grant from the Massachusetts Technological Collaborative underwrote study by ESS Group of Wellesley.
Before offshore turbine construction can begin, studies must be performed to determine whether the ocean floor could support the turbines and how the construction might affect lobsters and other marine wildlife, ESS Group officials said.
The construction also would need local, state and federal approvals.
Hull fisherman have expressed concerns about the construction of transmission lines that would be buried in the seabed and link the turbines with Hull’s municipal light plant.
By Tom Benner
GateHouse News Service
11 February 2008
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