The joint Ipswich School Department and Municipal Light Department wind turbine project is still in the beginning stages, but moving forward with success.
Jim Engel, who is on the IMLD Board of Directors, gave a presentation before the School Committee last week asking for their consensus to move forward with plans to build a wind turbine on Town Farm Road in conjunction with the town. It was not necessarily a vote in support of the project itself, as that would be premature, the presentation documents state.
A unanimous vote to move forward with defining and refining the project was received.
“The committee was very appreciative of the presentation, Superintendent Rick Korb said.
Engel said there is plenty of enthusiasm surrounding the project.
Similar status reports will be going in front of the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee and the project will be on the warrant at Town Meeting. Voters will be asked to approve the town’s borrowing the anticipated $2.6 million balance of the project’s cost, according to Utilities Director Tim Henry, after use of the school’s Clean Renewable Energy Bond of $1.6 million. That bond is a no interest program but must be used by December 31, 2008 or the money is lost.
Engel’s presentation states that the collaboration between the School District and IMLD to construct the turbine at Town Farm Road has benefits. The schools bring the no-interest loan. The IMLD would manage the turbine.
“The Light Department’s expertise is important to this,” Engel said.
Plus, the Town Farm Road site has known permitting requirements and wind data is available. The collaboration will result in a well defined project.
The School District’s share of the project output will offset the kilowatt hours billed to the schools. The IMLD share will reduce the kilowatt-hours purchased from the grid.
On Monday, Engel will present the status report to selectmen during their weekly meeting and answer their questions on the project.
“We think we have a good project,” he said.
By Andrea Bulfinch
13 March 2008
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