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Saugus wind board eyes sites for alternative energy  

SAUGUS – The Wind Committee is trying to keep things low-key while they gather information but member John Truesdale said it is picking up steam.

“We’re in the initial stages of a learning curve,” Truesdale said. “It’s not like I do this stuff in my everyday job.”

Truesdale was the driving force behind having a committee formed to explore the idea of installing windmills in town as an alternative source. His reasoning he said was simple, “We need to think outside the box.”

Truesdale said given the town’s financial constraints it is time that town officials and residents begin thinking of non-traditional ways to gain revenue.

“If we can make this work we could save the town some money,” Truesdale said. “If we can make it work.”

When Truesdale first seriously considered the idea of wind power he admitted his thoughts first turned to a strip of land along Route 107. It wasn’t long, however, until he and the committee began looking at other alternative energy possibilities as well.
Town Meeting member Tim Hawkes, who also serves on the committee, asked Town Meeting members in May if it would broaden the scope of the committee to include exploring solar power and other alternative energy sources. Town Meeting complied handily.

Since then Truesdale has even toyed with the idea of putting solar panels across the capped landfill to power the Department of Public Works Building, or using alternative energy to power the schools.

Town Moderator Robert Long sat in on committee’s meeting earlier this week and said he thought the group might be on to something.

“I thought it was very productive,” he said. “Obviously this idea (of wind power) is coming into prominence with the cost of oil and the cost of other utilities. I think this has potential.”

It all depends on the location, Long added and that Truesdale said is what the committee is focused on now-determining locations.

Truesdale said the committee is in the process of figuring out exactly what the town is paying in energy costs and on what buildings.

“Obviously there’s Town Hall, but I’m not sure I know where all the schools are or town owned buildings,” Truesdale said. “We want to get locations.”

He said once they have that information they could bring someone in to do a feasibility study to see what, if any, alternative energy sources are possible.

“It’s not going to be next year,” he said. “This is going to be a long-term process and it won’t be easy but I think down the road we might really be able to do something.”

By Chris Stevens

The Daily Item

11 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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