Massachusetts officials joined a small crowd today to celebrate the near-completion of a wind farm in the remote Berkshire county town of Florida.
With five of the wind farm’s nineteen turbines spinning in the background, Governor Deval Patrick attributed Hoosac Wind Power’s success to a shared vision of environmental stewardship within the Commonwealth. But he said, even if alternative energy is the right thing to do, that doesn’t mean turbines should go just anywhere.
“It’s a location that is welcomed by the neighbors, by the landowners, by the towns. And you know, as you drive along, I think they’re quite elegant. And when you think about what they’re doing for tens of thousands of homes…I think it adds to the beauty.”
Patrick says the state’s goal is to generate enough wind energy to power 800,000 homes by 2020. He says to do this, wind-citing legislation needs to be passed to streamline and accelerate the development process. The Hoosac wind farm has taken nine years to complete.
Patricia Irvine is from Brimfield, Massachusetts. She and about a dozen others – most from the Eastern part of the state – showed up to protest. She says Florida residents voted in favor of citing half of the turbines in their town – the other half are in the neighboring community of Monroe. And she says she believes that’s because Monroe has the lowest average household income out of all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
“And Florida is only a couple of notches above it. So when a large international company comes to a small town like this and says we’re gonna give you 160-thousand dollars a year – it’s hard to turn it down.”
Hoosac Wind Power will generate enough energy to power about 10,000 homes. Once it hooks into the grid later this year, the wind farm will be the largest operation of its kind in the region.
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