KINGSTON – The Green Energy Committee has put the finishing touches on a wind turbine feasibility study and will apply to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative for a $150,000 grant to continue researching the possibility of erecting a turbine at the wastewater treatment plant on Cranberry Road.
In April, Town Meeting requested the state legislature allow the town to establish an enterprise fund in order to receive this grant.
The town has one year after the grant is approved to submit a Phase 2 plan, which includes selecting an operator or turnkey contractor for the turbine. The town must know the exact size and placement of the turbine and have a written contract for the operation of the turbine. Once Phase 2 is complete, the town has 18 months to construct the turbine.
It may take up to three months for approval of the application. Grant money may be used to develop a further feasibility study, for economic and technical assistance to develop a request for proposals from project developers or a turnkey construction contractor.
Once constructed, KEMA Inc., which performed the meteorological studies, estimates the turbine would generate about $1.8 million in revenues for the town, through electricity sold to the power companies and cost savings in the town’s electric bills.
The town must then select the size of the turbine and finalize its ownership. Through the legislation put forth by Town Meeting, the town will create a power company similar to the one that operates Hull Wind 1 and 2.
The town could also hand control of the turbine over to a private company, which would pay a fee for operating on town-owned land and provide the town with free electricity.
Selectmen Chairman Paul Gallagher asked Green Energy Chairman Brian Spires if the turbine could be moved to another location. But Spires and KEMA representatives said the MTC grant is site specific. It could not be moved to another location in town, though the final location on the treatment plant property is not yet finalized.
Gallagher was concerned about ice buildup on the turbine’s blades during the winter, and how that might impact use of the treatment plant and transfer station.
Selectman Mark Beaton, who is also on the Green Energy Committee, answered him.
“I’ve read a lot about this and I learned that if 10,000 people walked by the turbine, one will be hurt every 100 years.”
With that, the selectmen unanimously (5-0) approved the application.
By Casey Meserve
26 June 2008
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