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Wind turbine will move to new location

BERLIN – The wind turbine first proposed for Schoolfield Street in Berlin will now be erected on Old Ocean City Boulevard.

After more than a dozen residents of Schoolfield Street and the surrounding area told the Berlin Town Council last month they did not want a turbine in their neighborhood, citing noise and traffic concerns, officials asked electrical engineer Doug Richards to find another location for his pilot project.

Working with Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence, Richards came up with the prospect of erecting the 50-kilowatt wind turbine at the Rayne’s property on Old Ocean City Boulevard, just behind Cropper’s Towing.

Lawrence said he’d spoken to area residents and provided them with information on the project.

“All the property owners I talked to were in favor of it,” he said. “I haven’t received any negative calls.”

Richards, who first approached the council in December, plans to build a unique 50-kilowatt wind turbine that would use a direct current generator instead of the gear box utilized by most turbines. The turbine will be 90 feet tall and is expected to be quieter than most thanks to its lack of a gear box.

“It’s a new class of machinery,” he said at the time. “This’ll be the first commercial application of a wind turbine like this anywhere on the planet.”

The project is estimated to cost $125,000, which will be funded by Richards.

Chris Graf, a retired engineer living in Ocean City, will be working with Richards on the turbine as the on-site project manager. He believes the “cutting edge” technology involved will generate a lot of interest in the project.

“You’re really taking a step forward,” he told the council.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams has said he believes the turbine will be a one of a kind attraction for Berlin and will go hand in hand with the town’s other efforts to go green.

“We’re looking forward to working together on this exciting project that will hopefully be a source of pride for the community,” he said.

Richards, who has been working on the project for years, thanked the council for the opportunity.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said.

Now that the council has officially approved the Old Ocean City Boulevard location for the turbine, Dwight Davis, the town’s electric consultant, will review the project.