EMC is looking for some clean energy to power its dirty water.
The high-tech giant recently received a $44,000 planning grant from the quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to study the feasibility of building two wind turbines at its wastewater treatment plant in Hopkinton.
The allocation was one of seven grants awarded by the state totaling $700,000. The funding is aimed at increasing the state’s wind power generation capacity more than tenfold in the next nine years.
EMC, meanwhile, has its own goal of fulfilling half of its electricity needs through renewable sources by 2040, according to a company spokesperson.
Thanks in part to the CEC grant, EMC will install a 50-meter temporary meteorological test tower, which will record wind data for one year at the company’s Hopkinton headquarters.
After the wind data is collected, it will provide information about where the best place to site a turbine would be, exactly how much electricity it would generate and if there is enough wind to support the system. According to the company’s grant application to the CEC, a detailed acoustic study will also be done.
EMC’s headquarters are in a business park along South Street in Hopkinton, which also hosts a variety of other businesses nearby.
Kaisa Holloway Cripps, an EMC spokesperson, said the company would not disclose the total cost of the study, but did say that the $44,000 in grant funding is a “small portion” of the costs.
The overall project could eventually include two wind turbines, generating between 900 kilowatts and 2 megawatts of power. One megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts.
Cripps said any excess power generated by the turbines would be used on site.
“Our objective is to find alternative energy sources that are both economically viable and that can meet a meaningful proportion of our demand, and to be able to do so here in Massachusetts,” she said.
State officials are happy to see businesses taking the steps to investigate wind turbines.
Legislation passed in 2008 calls for the commonwealth to have 200 megawatts of wind power generated in Massachusetts by 2020.
There are about 19.7 megawatts worth of wind power already installed across the state and another 36 megawatts worth are under construction, according to Kate Plourd, a spokesperson for the CEC. By the end of 2012 there is expected to be another installation, the Hoosac Wind project, which would produce 30 megawatts by itself.
The proposed and vigorously debated Cape Wind project on Cape Cod could have a maximum installed capacity of more than 420 megawatts.
The state has set up programs to encourage wind adoption as well.
For example, EMC qualified for the Commonwealth Wind program, which doles out about $2 million a year in grants and loans for wind projects.
That money is funded through a charge on ratepayers’ utility bills, which averages to be $0.29 per month, Plourd said. That money supports the Renewable Energy Trust, a statewide fund that gives planning and assistance grants and loans for various renewable energy projects.
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