KINGSTON – Despite the “minefields, legislative beaucracies and obstacles” encountered along the way, last Thursday afternoon local and state officials along with residents residents stood atop the closed landfill that will be home to Kingston’s new 280-foot, 2-megawatt wind turbine.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the wind turbine Independence was an opportunity for credit to be shared among those who contributed to the project that will provide power for all municipal uses and more than 1,000 homes.
Selectman and Green Energy Committee Chairman Mark Beaton said Kingston has literally cut the path through the mindfields, beaurcracies and obstances that other communities can follow to pursue their own wind turbine projects.
“To say I’m happy to be here would be an understantment,” Beaton, wearing a T-shirt bearing the words “renewable energy,” said. “The groundbreaking ceremony is the culminaton of a lot of hard work by many people. We will erect here a 2-megawatt turbine, a feat we should all be proud of.”
Beaton said some revolutionary thinking was needed, and with members of the Green Energy Committee acting as revolutionaries, the efforts of many have paid off. Green Energy Committee members include Pine duBois, Gene Forte, Michael Kelleher, Ron Maribett, Antoine Nessralla, Michael O’Meara, Stephen Sechovicz, Brian Spires, Gerald Walraven and Gene Wyatt.
Selectmen Chairman Dick Arruda described the work of the Green Energy Committee as progressive and particularly credited Beaton for accomplishing a monumental task. In turn, Beaton credited the tenacity of Rep. Tom Calter, D-Kingston, for working with Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, to stay on top of the legislative process.
“If not for his direction and influence, we would not be here today,” Beaton said.
Calter described Beaton as being even more tenacious. He said when Beaton would call him making demands for help navigating the approval process, he and Murray would get right on it.
“We’re very grateful for your leadership and your vision and your hard work,” Calter said. “Mark, without your leadership, we wouldn’t be here; you know that.”
Calter said that next summer, when the wind turibine is up and running, he and Murray would like to host a legislative luncheon on-site so everyone in the Legislature can see what Kingston has done and learn more about the Green Energy Committee’s efforts to turn an area that was once a blight on the town into an asset.
“Kingston provides the blueprint for everyone in the commonwealth to do the same thing,” he said. “Next summer we need to tell the entire commonweath about it so that we can show them how to do it without the fanfare that we had go through.”
State Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia passed along the congratulations of Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan for Kingston’s accomplishment following the passage in 2008 of the Green Communities Act, Global Warning Solutions Act and Green Jobs Act.
“It should not go unnoticed that Kingston is leading the way and will be an example for other municipalities across the state,” Sylvia said. “They’re all looking to communities like Kingston to learn from that example and do what needs to be done.”
Aquinergy President and Kingston Wind Turbine LLC Project Manager Kially Ruiz, representing wind developer D&C Construction of Rockland, said he’s impressed by the work the people of Kingston have done and the level of support the people have shown for a project some towns might find it daunting to embrace.
“This is the realization of what I think we all want for a green community,” he said. “I think it says a lot about the town and the can-do spirit of this community the fact that we’re here.”
Beaton said the people of Kingston deserve credit for buying into the concept of clean, renewable energy and making it possible to break ground.
“I’m proud to be a Kingstonian,” he said.
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