Wind is a powerful force.
As evidence, consider this: The wind turbine Mark Richey Woodworking plans to construct will produce enough electricity to power about 112 homes.
“We are looking at a 600-kilowatt wind turbine, which is a lot of energy,” said Jonathan Markey, senior project manager at Beverly-based Meridian Associates, which is taking the lead on the Richey project.
The turbine will produce about 1 million kilowatt hours a year, which will help power the 80,000-square-foot woodworking shop in the city’s industrial park. Markey said an average household uses about 8,900 kilowatt hours per year.
Markey said since the city just passed an ordinance that guides the construction of turbines in the industrial park, it will still be a month or two before they file plans with the city.
But Markey said residents should prepare to see many more wind turbines popping up.
Markey said he is working on two other 600-kilowatt wind turbines – one at Beverly High School and another for Cape Cod Community College. His company is also working on a 1.65-megawatt wind turbine in Ipswich.
He said the power-producers will especially start to flourish if the state passes a clean energy bill that encourages alternative energy producers. Just last month, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi promoted his “green” jobs legislation during a stop at Richey’s shop.
“You’re going to start seeing a lot of them going up,” Markey said.
The city’s new ordinance, which passed second reading in the most recent City Council meeting, was drafted as a proactive – instead of reactive – answer to the potential for increased demand in the industrial park.
Nancy Colbert, the city’s planning director, said the ordinance only helps regulate those wind turbines with industrial use, and added that the city plans to also create guidelines for residential turbines as well. Industrial turbines are much larger than residential turbines.
“Residential turbines are much, much, much smaller than that,” Colbert said. “They are two different animals; they are apples and oranges.”
Markey said a 600-kilowatt wind turbine is the ideal right now because a company’s goal is to use all the electricity it generates. The alternative is producing additional energy and selling it back to National Grid. But he said in that situation, a company would only get paid about 6 cents per kilowatt hour, or about a third of what National Grid charges.
“You can’t be making electricity for these people,” Markey said. “The best economics is using what you produce.”
By Stephen Tait
6 June 2008
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