DARTMOUTH – A 243-foot wind turbine will be built in a clearing between the center of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus and Cedar Dell Pond, which the university said will save the equivalent of 39 tons of coal from entering the environment each year.
The turbine, which will be only 12 feet shorter than the campanile tower at the center of campus, will also save the university an estimated $125,000 a year, equal to 1 or 2 percent of the campus’s energy use. Plans to move ahead with the turbine – which is said to be the first in the UMass system – were announced Friday.
“Universities have a responsibility to lead on the big issues of the day,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean MacCormack, “and modernizing our energy systems – along with our many other green activities – will be a dramatic indicator of our commitment to sustainability.”
The turbine is being paid for as part of a $35 million state-funded capital investment plan for more energy-efficient features at the campus. Solar panels have already been installed on the roof of the athletic center, with a capacity to create about half as much energy as the turbine is expected to produce.
At a public forum last fall, some participants complained that the turbine’s location goes against architect Paul Rudolph’s vision for the spot as a “visual anchor” for the campus.
Professor Emeritus Fred Gifun, who wrote a book about the history of UMass Dartmouth that included a section on the campus’s architecture, said at the forum that the open vista to the pond “should not be violated.”
Last year, the university began clearing years of vegetation growth to open the 100-yard-wide pond vista as it was when the campus was first created. Restoring Rudolph’s concept for the “visual anchor” was included in the university’s Campus on Facilities Master Plan in 2005.
The university is “sensitive” to Rudolph’s vision for the vista, Salvatore Filardi, the university’s associate vice chancellor for administrative services, said at the forum, but it feels that the turbine wouldn’t be “a big distraction.”
This story will be updated.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding