HINGHAM – Between Monday’s driving winds and Tuesday night’s snow, there was finally a big enough window of good weather Tuesday morning to install a wind-measuring device at the capped landfill on Hobart Street.
The device, called an anemometer, attached to a slender 170-foot pole, will stay up for about 12 months to gather data that will show whether the landfill is windy enough to make it cost effective to erect a wind turbine that would generate energy for the town.
Lifting the pole, setting it in place and anchoring it to foundation blocks took more than 21/2 hours.
“It’s nice to finally get it up. Now comes the real test,” said Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant General Manager John Tzimorangas. “How feasible is this location, how well does it translate in a financial analysis?”
The project is being paid for by the lighting plant. The anemometer, installation and data analysis, all provided by Lighthouse Electric Contracting of Pembroke, is expected to cost $20,000 to $23,000.
Last fall, the lighting plant received approval from the zoning board of appeals for a special permit to install the pole. Because construction was taking place on a landfill, the lighting plant sought and received required approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The lighting plant and the Hingham Wind Committee have long been in discussion about the potential of wind power as an alternate energy source for the town. They co-sponsored a forum last April to introduce the concept to residents.
But, Tzimorangas said, many residents have been wanting to pursue wind power for years.
“It’s exciting in town, people who go back well before me, in the 1990s and early 2000s, were pushing to try to get something like this up in order to at least study the prospect,” said Tzimorangas, who came to the lighting plant in 2004.
He said the plant will soon be testing a cellular communication package that will feed data from the anemometer to the lighting plant. Tzimorangas said it is hoped that a link will be put on the lighting plant’s Web site so that residents can look at wind speeds at the landfill in real time.
The landfill was one of three sites deemed feasible for the eventual construction of a turbine that would not interfere with neighbors. The others were South Shore Country Club and South Shore Industrial Park. The information collected at the landfill will be applicable to areas within a 11/2- to 2-mile radius, which includes the country club.
“When you’re standing on that cap, I don’t care when it is, the wind always seems to be blowing,” Tzimorangas said. “But that’s just anecdotal, now we can tell with the anemometer what type of energy could be generated. It’s exciting.”
More than a dozen South Shore municipalities are planning to use wind energy or are exploring the possibility.
By Karen Goulart
13 February 2008
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