NEWBURY – A Somerville company is proposing to erect three commercial-scale wind turbines – one of which may be taller than a controversial turbine in the nearby Newburyport industrial park.
Engineer Jonathan Markey of Meridian Associates of Beverly told the Conservation Commission this week that a company called Mass Wind LLC wants to install the wind turbines on vacant land off Middle and Highfields roads.
He said he had not yet met with the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals about the project and asked commission members to make a site visit to delineate wetlands on the property.
According to Mass Wind’s application to the commission, the company is proposing three 600-kilowatt turbines. Two would have a “hub height” of 50 meters, or 165 feet. The third would have a height of 65 meters, or 214.5 feet.
The “hub height” is the distance from the ground to the electrical generation motor that is turned by the blades.
The application did not list the overall heights for the turbines, which would include the length of the blades, and commission members did not ask Markey about the dimension at their Tuesday night meeting.
Working from the application, conservation agent Doug Packer estimated the total height of the 50-meter machines at 242 feet and the 65-meter turbine at 342 feet.
In comparison, the turbine at Newburyport’s Mark Richey Woodworking is 292 feet tall. Richey’s turbine, erected in 2009, was greeted with both support and criticism in Newburyport. Some saw it as a blight on the landscape, and neighbors complained of the “flicker” effect caused by the blades. Others supported it and saw it as a sign of Newburyport’s efforts to embrace green technology.
In the aftermath of criticism over the Richey turbine, city officials have proposed revamping zoning rules in order to keep turbines farther away from homes.
If approved by the town, the Newbury turbines would be built on an 82.1-acre parcel between Middle and Highfields roads, roughly a mile or so south of the Richey turbine. The land is zoned for industrial use, and assessors’ records list the owner as N.A. Nicholas Realty Inc. of Amesbury. The area is sparsely populated.
Mass Wind LLC is located at 4 Tannery Brook Row, Unit 10, in Somerville. Calling the telephone number listed for the company reaches a voice mailbox for a Richard Fisher. The automated greeting said yesterday that the box was full and couldn’t accept any more messages.
A phone message left for Markey yesterday at Meridian’s Beverly office was not immediately returned.
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