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Damage to UMass Dartmouth’s wind turbine pushes back construction  

Credit:  By Grant Welker, Herald News Staff Reporter, www.heraldnews.com 25 July 2011 ~~

Construction of a 243-foot wind turbine at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been pushed back because of minor weather damage that took place while the turbine was in storage.

The university said in March it was moving ahead with plans for the turbine, with construction to start in the spring and be completed by the fall. Months later, there is no evidence of work ongoing at the site.

The turbine had not been stored properly, suffered weather damange and is being sent to New Hampshire to have components refurbished, said Tom Paine, a project director with the university’s sustainability office. The timeline now calls for starting work this fall and having the turbine completed by late winter or early spring, he said.

The turbine was first planned to be built at Cape Cod Community College until a historic district commission appealed it and ultimately killed the project. UMass Dartmouth was given the turbine instead. It is said to be the first in the UMass system.

The turbine, which will be only 12 feet shorter than the campanile tower at the center of campus, is expected to save the university an estimated $125,000 a year, equal to 1 or 2 percent of the campus’ energy use.

The 600-kilowatt turbine will be built in a 100-yard-wide opening between the center of campus and Cedar Dell Pond, where last year the university began clearing years of tree and brush growth to once again make the pond visible from campus. The pond was called a “visual anchor” for the campus by Paul Rudolph, the architect who designed what was then the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute.

Restoring the “visual anchor” concept was part of the university’s Campus on Facilities Master Plan in 2005.

The university chose the clearing for the turbine in part because it is far from buildings or nearby homes, though it also caused some controversy for being targeted for a highly visible spot.

The turbine is part of a $35 million state-funded capital investment plan that also included solar panels on the athletic center roof, among other energy-saving measures like more efficient interior lighting.

Source:  By Grant Welker, Herald News Staff Reporter, www.heraldnews.com 25 July 2011

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