Residents attending a wind energy forum were told that a Kingston turbine would harness abundant, renewable and “climate-benign” wind power – and that making the turbine a reality is still several years away.
Asked to estimate how soon Kingston could have a turbine up and running, green energy committee Chairman Brian Spires replied, “Unfortunately, it’s still looking like three years, maybe, if we’re lucky.”
The town is studying the feasibility of having a turbine of 1.5 to 2 megawatts at its wastewater treatment plant, a property bordered to the east by Route 3 and to the south by Marion Drive and Gallen Road.
Spires said a number of articles related to the wind project will be considered at town meeting April 5, including a proposal that asks voters to authorize the selectmen to file a home-rule petition with the Legislature. The petition would call for creating a municipal light and power company.
“We need to pass the article that allows us to form a municipal power company,” Spires said. “That’s really important.”
Kingston could then apply for grants that would let it look in much greater detail at questions concerning the proposed turbine site, he said.
The town began exploring its wind-project options in 2004.
Charles McClelland, a wind energy specialist at the University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, outlined the benefits of turbines to a crowd of about 50 people at the forum, which was held Tuesday evening at the Kingston Intermediate School.
McClelland said wind power would not have the price volatility of fuels such as oil, and would help to mitigate global warming.
While most of the Bay State’s so-called wind resources are offshore, “even onshore, here in Kingston, you have enough wind to make it economically feasible,” he said.
Andrew Brydges, a project manager for KEMA, the consulting firm that has nearly finished a financial feasibility study of the treatment-plant site, told residents that the site’s wind resources are “not exceptional” but “moderate.”
A woman in the audience had misgivings about the forum being held so close to town meeting, which begins next week.
“It seems to me that there are many, many people in this town who do not have the information that they need, and they will probably vote this down,” she said, referring to the proposal for a home-rule petition.
But a handful of people interviewed after the forum said they found it persuasive.
Kingston resident Jayne Nussdorfer said the turbine development process needs to speed up.
“If each project takes three years minimum that’s unacceptable,” she said. “We need it sooner. We need it now.”
Edward B. Colby
26 March 2008
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