Clean energy advocates looking at various options for municipal power project development around the city have temporarily focused on an area near Gloucester’s Bond Hill Reservoir off Old Salem Road.
Under early discussion is the feasibility of a wind turbine project there with perhaps four 100-kilowatt units.
“We are neither for nor against,” said Sam Cleaves, the chairman of the Gloucester Clean Energy Commission, suggesting the current status of investigation was largely exploratory.
The commission and City Councilor Greg Verga invited residents to an opening community presentation Thursday night, and Cleaves said a follow-up session and site visit will also be set up.
At this point, Cleaves said the intention is merely “to put out some information.”
A more formal feasibility study has been under way for some time involving a site at Blackburn Industrial Park; results regarding the viability of that location should be available soon, Cleaves said.
As originally outlined, the city’s interest there was in investigating the technical feasibility and the business planning aspects of installing an approximately 1.5MW utility-scale turbine to help offset electricity demand and rising energy costs.
Meanwhile, last month, citing neighborhood concerns, city officials shelved a request to the City Council for authorization to accept an $85,000 grant for a feasibility study of putting a wind turbine project at Magnolia Woods.
The grant offer from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center would have funded analysis at the site of Gloucester’s former landfill.
Last fall, in a letter to the granting agency, Mayor Carolyn Kirk wrote that “the development of renewable energy to both reduce the city’s energy costs and to promote clean and renewable energy sources is one of the major goals of my administration.”
More recently, in calling for the Magnolia Woods study to be scrubbed, the mayor made emphatic mention of the importance of community involvement while asserting Gloucester’s status as a leader in pursing clean energy alternatives.
Cleaves said interesting aspects of a potential Bond Hill project could be its relatively small-size, low-profile and innovative technology.
“It’s a much smaller machine” than more common turbines, he said. “It’s sort of an advancement in the technology.”
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center was created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008 to foster growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry.
Last year, Gloucester was granted a designation as a “green community” by the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, making the city eligible for certain grant funding.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding