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Zoning for wind energy: Bylaw change may help fill industrial park  

GREENFIELD – How do you attract renewable energy generators like windmills to the town industrial park?

The Greenfield Redevelopment Authority thinks allowing taller structures will help.

It proposes changing zoning laws to allow, by special permit, structures taller than 50 feet.

Authority Chairman William Martin said there are companies currently located in the park that are interested in investing in onsite energy generation for themselves, but are restricted by the current law. He believes that law could be preventing other companies from coming to Greenfield.

The GRA’s change would affect only general and planned industrial districts.

Martin said the request was made because the authority has been communicating with a number of current businesses in the industrial park, as well as businesses interested in coming to Greenfield. Many of them are interested in finding ways to control rising energy costs with onsite renewable energy projects, he said.

”Many of those types of projects require structures taller than 50 feet,” said Martin. ”There’s a company in Boston erecting wind turbines that stand 183 feet tall.”

Martin said the authority is also considering a renewable energy project that it would build on one of the three remaining lots in the Interstate 91 Industrial Park.

”The recent Green Communities Act signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick in early July makes these types of investments even more possible by providing funds to help promote onsite generation,” said Martin.

Martin said the authority is considering building a renewable energy project that would supply anyone in Greenfield. He said he’s looking into working with the University of Massachusetts business school to learn how to form an entity that could accept and sell power.

The three available sites in the park include a 12-acre site just north of the Coca Cola plant and a 66-acre site. There is also a smaller site available in the park.

”We’re looking at a lot of different options right now,” said Martin. ”We’ve got to do site surveys and other studies before we could even consider building our own project.”

Also a town councilor, Martin hopes the full council acts quickly on the authority’s request so that the town can take advantage of state incentives, which might come its way as a result of the act the governor signed in July.

”I’d love to see a company similar to Bristol Meyers Squibb come to Greenfield,” said Martin. ”The company is building a biotechnology park in the Fort Devens Office and Technology Park. It expects to invest $600 million in the project and employ 350 people with the possibility of adding hundreds of additional jobs. That’s what we want to bring to Greenfield.”

By Anita Fritz
Recorder Staff

The Recorder

31 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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