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BCC awarded $600,000 state grant to help build wind turbine

FALL RIVER – Bristol Community College is getting a wind a turbine with the help of a new $600,000 state grant.

“We want to demonstrate that BCC is putting its money where its mission is and we’ll be modeling just what we preach and that’s sustainablility and the importance of sustainability,” college President John Sbrega said, referring to the number of sustainability-themed programs and events at the college.

State officials awarded a total of $713,814 in “clean energy” grants Tuesday to BCC, Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester during a brief ceremony at BCC’s Fall River campus.

The grant, awarded by the Department of Energy Resources, will cover about 20 percent of the turbine’s $3.2 million cost. The rest of the money will come from the state’s Clean Energy Investment program, which provides low-interest bonds that are then paid for through energy savings.

The grant money came from “alternative compliance payments,” which are payments made to the state by utility companies that fall short of providing a state-required percentage of electricity from renewable sources.

BCC expects its 250-foot, 900-kilowatt turbine to save $218,000 a year in energy costs, according to a state news release.

The college will request bids for the turbine by the end of the year and construction could begin next spring or summer, said Leo Racine, BCC director of capital projects.

It will take about three months to erect the turbine structure, but the electrical connections could take “awhile,” Racine added.

The turbine will be a new unit, BCC spokeswoman Sally Cameron said.

UMass Dartmouth acquired a turbine from Cape Cod Community College after Hyannis residents protested the structure’s construction. The turbine went up in April after being in storage for months and has yet to become functional due to hydraulic problems and issues with the unit’s computer programs.