KINGSTON – The town’s capped landfill will get a whole new look when contractors break ground on a new wind turbine to be followed by the installation of solar panels on another part of the site.
Town Administrator Jill Goldsmith said these two fully permitted “green” projects are scheduled to begin with contractors set to break ground in mid to late August.
Goldsmith said it’s remarkable – with the many groups involved in the planning and permitting of these renewable energy projects – to be so close to breaking ground. She said it’s happening because consensus was reached in support of renewable energy.
“It’s been very educational and an interesting exercise in how so many partners can collaborate towards one goal,” she said. “There are so many groups, but they reached consensus and want renewable energy.”
Power purchase agreements with the contractors have been signed, and the 20-year lease agreements for the land have been filed at the Registry of Deeds.
Negotiating these agreements as a part of the planning and permitting process was an especially interesting challenge, Goldsmith said. She gained insight into how private industry operates while operating within the paramaters of state regulations.
It wasn’t until last summer that the state decided wind turbines could be installed on municipal landfills. Kingston is a leader in the state for following through on a project like this. Goldsmith said Kingston can be proud to be part of the innovation. She’s answered calls from other towns for guidance.
“We set the model for other towns in the commonwealth,” she said.
The 2-megawatt wind turbine, which will be visible from Route 3, will need to be staged, she said, before site work on the solar panel project on the south side of the landfill can begin.
The wind turbine will be metered so that the developer will be able to sell power to the local utility and be paid the retail price of electricity instead of the wholesale price. The difference in price – the effective subsidy – is picked up by all of the utility’s ratepayers as part of the distribution charge on their bills.
Electricity generated by the wind turbine is expected to cost the town 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Any excess energy not used by the town of Kingston would be sold back to the grid for a little more than 14 cents per kilowatt hour.
As decided at Town Meeting this spring, the town will partner with a local bank to provide loans to businesses and residents who want to go green. These loans could be used to offset loan application or interest costs. Goldsmith said the program would be established next year.
Goldsmith will just miss out on the groundbreaking depending on the date. Her last day in Kingston before taking on the job of town manager in Chatham will be Aug. 12.
She will be able, however, to keep up with the wind turbine project online like everyone else once a tracking system measuring the amount of energy generated goes into effect. She expects the link on the town’s website will be become active in January or February.
“People can track how much is being generated by the wind turbine and solar project once the link is live,” she said.
The date of the groundbreaking has yet to be determined.
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