BECKET – Thanks to the efforts of one of its residents, the town has received state funding to look at the potential of wind power for some of its largest energy users.
The town was awarded a $59,940 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on Thursday, one of seven grants awarded across the state for wind energy projects.
The project was the idea of Kenneth Smith, of George Carter Road, who brought the idea to the attention of town officials earlier this year. The grant will be used to explore the feasibility of a 900-kilowatt community wind power project off Tower Road.
“It sounds like a very innovate solution,” said Town Administrator Craig Kleman.
The town will work with consultants from Sustainable Energy Developments to evaluate the potential for installing a turbine at the site to offset utility expenses at town-owned properties.
The study will include an in-depth analysis of siting, financing, permitting, capital costs and ownership options.
Smith was not immediately available for comment on Thursday. He told The Eagle in January that he has been looking to build a turbine on his property for years, but became interested in the grant funding because of new “net metering” regulations put in place by the state that allow for greater flexibility in selling and producing wind energy.
He already has an unused radio tower on his property and a cell tower.
The town will partner with
Smith, the School at Jacob’s Pillow, and Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA. The partners will share in the potential savings and financial requirements of the project, though no set plan has been determined.
Connie Chin, general manager of Jacob’s Pillow, confirmed via email that the dance festival would be joining the study. She said they are “very interested in the results of this study,” but made no additional comments.
Steve Turner, caretaker of Becket-Chimney Corners, said his organization is one of the biggest energy consumers in town, and administrators have been looking at renewable energy.
“We’ve been anxious to do something for years,” said Turner.
Kleman said the study could be under way by June and would take nine months to complete. If the site was deemed feasible for wind energy, an additional six months of studies could be required.
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