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Turbine plans moving ahead at Plymouth County jail

PLYMOUTH – Plans are progressing for the construction of a large wind turbine at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility off Exit 5.

Wind studies conducted nearly five years ago, shortly after Sheriff Joseph McDonald won office, showed the site is ideal for the production of wind energy. It’s location between the highway and an industrial park off Long Pond Road offers the added benefit of limited neighborhood disturbance.

WHAT

The sheriff has proposed constructing a 410-foot turbine at the county jail site.

The turbine tower would be 262 feet tall, with 148-foot blades.

WHERE

The turbine could be located on a triangular wooded parcel immediately adjacent to the southeast corner of the county jail. The site is bounded by the jail’s outer perimeter fence, Route 3 and the Camelot Industrial Park.

NEAREST NEIGHBORS

The nearest residential neighbors are located 1,492 feet to the southeast, on Harborlight Circle, a neighborhood off Sandwich Street on the other side of the highway.

WHY

The turbine is expected to generate 4,800 megawatts of electricity a year. That’s approximately 88 percent of the jail’s annual electrical needs and, at current rates, translates into an annual cost avoidance of $723,000.

COSTS

The turbine is expected to cost $5 million to $5.5 million and would have an estimated pay-back time of about seven years.

BIDDING

Four qualified bidders submitted proposals for the project in July. The sheriff’s department and the state department of energy and division of capital asset management are in the process of reviewing the bids. They will meet with representatives from the four companies next Friday for a final round of pre-contract discussions

CONSTRUCTION

The sheriff’s department expects the state to award a contract for the project sometime in September and hopes to start construction before winter. The construction will likely consume most of a year.