August 2, 2011

Salem leaders plan series of public forums to locate wind energy facility

By John Laidler, Globe Correspondent, 1 August 2011

Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll and other city leaders are planning a series of public forums on a proposal to locate a wind energy facility at Winter Island Marine Park. The first forum will be held this Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 6:30 p.m., on the third floor of the City Hall Annex, 120 Washington St.

A consultant recently completed a state-funded feasibility study for the city that demonstrated the technical and economic viability of the wind project, which has been proposed by Driscoll and the city’s Renewable Energy Task Force. The forums, open to all, will enable city officials to share details of the study, outline the potential benefits and impacts of the proposed project, and give Salem residents and other stakeholders their first opportunity to offer feedback on the plan.

The proposal calls for a single turbine with a capacity of 1.6 megawatts, or enough electricity to power at least 300 homes, according to Paul Marquis, the city’s energy and sustainability manager. The city separately is finalizing a master plan for Winter Island Marine Park. Located on Winter Island Road, the 32-acre city-owned harbor-front park includes the remains of an old fort, a lighthouse, and a former Coast Guard station. Its facilities include a function hall, a public beach, camping and picnic areas, a pier, and a boat ramp.

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