December 12, 2012

Millbury wind turbine out after study raises doubts

Susan Spencer |

MILLBURY – Selectmen voted not to pursue a wind turbine at Butler Farm last night, after hearing results of a feasibility study that showed the wind speeds were too low and the costs high.

Johanna Hall, project engineer for Weston & Sampson Inc. of Peabody, which was hired with an $85,000 grant from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to evaluate the site for a range of turbines, concluded that the recorded long-term wind speed of 5.2 meters per second at a height of 80 meters was considered unfavorable for large wind development.

With a cost of up to $4.1 million for the largest 1,800- kilowatt turbine and a payback period of 35 to 39 years, a wind project wouldn’t make financial sense, the study demonstrated.

Environmental and site factors were favorable for a turbine, although there could be excessive noise at the property line, based on state regulations, during the highest wind.

“I’m very happy that we did a study because some towns have already installed them and they’re not working out,” said Selectman E. Bernard Plante, board chairman.

Also at the meeting, selectmen approved a change in the town’s vehicle policy to comply with the state’s new Green Communities requirements. Fuel efficiency guidelines would now apply to all municipal vehicles, including heavy trucks such as fire engines and construction vehicles.

Town Planner Laurie Connors said that since the town has been participating as a Green Community, Millbury’s electricity expenditures have decreased to $536,528 in 2012 from $700,121 in 2008, a 23 percent drop.

Mr. Plante also announced that the public is invited to meet with final police chief candidates from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Selectmen will start interviewing the finalists at 8 p.m.

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