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Answers blowing in the wind at Tufts vet school; Study to gauge harnessing power  

GRAFTON— Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University will be exploring another area in the science field: renewable energy.

The veterinary school is expecting to conduct a wind feasibility study later this year to determine if the winds on the Route 30 campus are strong enough to generate power.

Dean Deborah Kochevar first announced the feasibility study in speaking with the Board of Selectmen last week, and a spokesman said the study is in the preliminary stages.

“The time is ripe to be thinking about renewable energy,” said Tom Keppler, a spokesman for the Cummings School. “Tufts is looking at its own carbon footprint and ways to have cleaner energy power its campus.”

The school looked at other alternative energy areas, including fuel cell technology and solar power, before deciding to explore wind energy.

“Wind power appeared to be the lowest hanging fruit,” Mr. Keppler said.

The school will be seeking funding to conduct the feasibility study. If the school secures funding, a 50-meter pole with a test wind turbine will be erected on campus to measure the wind for a year. Mr. Keppler said the school is hoping to write and submit a grant in August, and will proceed from there.

“The wind resources in the area are considered borderline,” Mr. Keppler said. “We may not have enough wind to be feasible.”

Mr. Keppler said the test turbine may be located in the school’s agricultural fields because it requires a circular area with a 200-foot diameter.

“We also need to consider the fact that we are losing a large area – of hayfields and cornfields – that provide feed to our animals,” he said.

Mr. Keppler said the school is open to working with the town’s sustainable energy committee to coordinate their efforts, but it is too early to speculate what kind of power may be harnessed on campus.

While he said the school is interested in working with the town, “We are not quite ready to say we are going to be the power source of Grafton,” Mr. Keppler said.

By Donna Boynton

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

8 July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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