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Hampton energy board eyes turbine tower idea

HAMPTON – A company inquiring about erecting a wind turbine and 4G cell tower at Hampton Beach is preparing to make a presentation before the town’s Energy Committee.

Jim George of Tower Resource Management will be going before the commission on Thursday to explain the conceptual idea of installing a 50-foot structure to be located on Brown Avenue. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the selectmen’s room at the Town Offices.

Dick Desrosiers, chairman of the Energy Committee, said the concept up for discussion involves using the police station as an electrical host with the wind turbine providing electricity to the cell system and the police station.

“That is all I know,” said Desrosiers. “We invited him to get a better idea of the concept and to ask a lot of questions. Anytime there is opportunity that the town may gain something of value, we look into it.”

Desrosiers said the committee was contacted by George, who is a site acquisition specialist for the company.

The company helps telecommunications carriers develop their networks to deliver communication services.

Desrosiers said the committee is always interested in hearing proposals for renewable energy.

“It could be an advantage to the town,” Desrosiers said.

The wind turbine would not provide power directly to the police station. But he said it would go to the network, where it could help offset the town’s electricity bill.

“The town would lease the location and – let’s say if the wind turbine generated a 100 kilowatts of electricity but the police station only used 10 – the town could make money off of the deal,” Desrosiers said.

But Desrosiers emphasized that the idea is in its very early stages.

In 2007, Selectman Rick Griffin made a push to have the town take a serious look at windmills as an alternative source of energy.

Though he wouldn’t offer names, at the time Griffin said “there are people who have money and want to invest” and the town could generate revenue by leasing land for wind turbines to developers or by negotiating another form of compensation for using town land.

Desrosiers said he only knows of two other wind turbines in town, one at Winnacunnet High School and another off Route 101.

In 2007, Unitil, the local power company, unveiled a pilot project that will place an energy-generating wind turbine atop a utility pole across from a cell tower along Route 101.

The small-scale wind turbine only generates enough power to serve one household.