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UMass Dartmouth slates public hearing to discuss wind turbine proposal  

Credit:  By Grant Welker, Herald News Staff Reporter, www.heraldnews.com 10 November 2010 ~~

DARTMOUTH – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will hold a public meeting next week to discuss its plans to construct a wind turbine on campus that would rival the height of its signature campanile tower.

The 243-foot turbine could save the university about $125,000 a year and offset the amount of energy of 39 tons of coal, 1,161 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 489 pounds of nitrous oxide and 295 tons of carbon dioxide, the university said.

The turbine would be built in a wooded area between the center of campus, Cedar Dell Pond and Old Westport Road. It would be 12 feet shorter than the campanile in the center of campus, but with ground elevation differences would be 30 feet shorter.

A meeting for the public to discuss the plan is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the browsing area on the first floor of the campus library.

UMass Dartmouth’s sustainability office called the turbine “a significant opportunity for our students and for the region.” Members of the office, along with representatives of the state agency overseeing the project, the Division of Capital Asset Management, will present plans for the turbine at the meeting.

In addition to energy and cost savings, the 600-kilowatt turbine would also provide learning and research opportunities, UMass Dartmouth said. The university first used a wind test tower between the library and Ring Road to test the feasibility of wind power on campus.

In September, the university announced a three-year, $170 million capital plan that included a $35 million investment in clean-energy projects, including a high-efficiency co-generation power plant, roof-top solar panels and the retrofitting of lights in buildings across campus. The investment is expected to be offset in the long run by energy savings.

Both the $35 million program and the wind turbine – which was funded separately by the state – are part of the university’s commitment to eventually becoming carbon-neutral under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which the university signed onto in 2007.

The turbine UMass Dartmouth would use was first planned to be built at Cape Cod Community College until a historic district commission appealed it. A Barnstable District Court judge upheld the decision last month.

Source:  By Grant Welker, Herald News Staff Reporter, www.heraldnews.com 10 November 2010

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