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Construction begins on Ipswich’s 2nd wind turbine

IPSWICH – Piece by piece, the town’s second wind turbine on Town Farm Road is coming together.

And that may be just the beginning; a privately owned solar farm proposed for the street could also help further the town’s renewable energy goals.

Pieces for the new turbine were still being delivered this week, and a crane is on-site to begin assembling it. Tim Henry, director of the Ipswich Utilities Department, said calm weather conditions are needed for the blades to be installed.

The turbine is expected to be operational by the end of the year, said Bradford Cleaves, president of D&C Construction of Rockland. The company will own the turbine, and the town will purchase 100 percent of the power it produces.

“It is great for any community,” Cleaves said.

Down the road, New Jersey-based Capital Energy Partners is proposing to build a ground-mounted solar farm on 10 acres of private property at 100 Town Farm Road. The Utilities Department is currently in talks with the company about purchasing its power, Henry said.

The company will need a special permit from the Planning Board. If approved, it could produce up to 2 percent of the town’s energy needs.

Henry said there is no room to place additional turbines at the Town Farm Road site, and Ipswich has not looked into placing turbines in any other part of town.

Ipswich’s first turbine is a joint project of the town’s utility company and public schools.

The two turbines will account for about 7 percent of the town’s power needs. The new turbine will produce about 2 megawatts, or about 4 percent of the town’s energy.

“It has a slightly greater output than the first turbine,” Henry said of the second turbine. The first one produces about 1.6 megawatts, or 3 percent.

Manufactured by Hyundai, the new turbine will be 400 feet tall, from the base to the top of its blade.

“It makes a strong statement about our commitment to renewable energy and the goals as set forth in the climate action plan,” Henry said.

The plan, developed by a subcommittee, calls for the town to have 20 percent of its power needs from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2020. After the second turbine is up and running, the town will be at about 10 percent, Henry said.

Another 3 percent comes from the town’s part-ownership in the Berkshire Wind Project. Several communities purchase power generated by 10 wind turbines in the western part of the state, Henry said.

Cleaves applauded the town’s renewable energy goals.

“I think they are well on their way and may surpass it,” he said.