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Westport looking into solar, wind power

WESTPORT – Town Administrator John Healey said he has been talking with No Fossil Fuel, a Massachusetts-based energy company, about the possibility of building a solar facility in town.

While stressing that the talks are in the very preliminary stages, Healey told selectmen recently that the solar array could meet as much as a third of the town’s power needs.

Owned by Mary O’Donnell, No Fossil Fuel currently owns and operates three wind turbines in Kingston that the company says support 6,600 homes.

No Fossil Fuel is also currently developing solar projects in Dartmouth and Marshfield, with the Dartmouth project to be one of the largest in the state with 21,000 panels proposed for a 35-acre site off Fisher Road in a former sand and gravel pit.

The discussion in Westport focused on building a photovoltaic facility, likely within the confines of the town’s landfill. Once the facility reaches commercial operation, the solar plant would sell electricity to Westport at a rate of $0.10 per kilowatt hour of electricity.

Healey said No Fossil Fuel would be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the facility. The company would also pay for all costs related to connecting the project to Westport’s current LDC (local distribution company) System, including costs related to system upgrades.

Once construction has been completed, power would then be distributed to households by the current LDC, NStar Electric Company, officials said.

The town is also looking into the potential of wind power, with Healey noting he has been in contact with Future Generation Wind, which is developing several wind turbines at an Ocean Spray Cranberry farm in Plymouth.