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Green energy on the move in Plymouth

PLYMOUTH – For wind and solar power, America’s Hometown is rising in the ranks of towns spearheading these efforts.

Plymouth’s move toward alternative energy has been well underway for years. Today, through two major projects, America’s Hometown boasts five turbines as well as one, smaller private one on residential property.

Plymouth is also home to more than 12 solar arrays spanning more than 181 acres.

Future Generation Wind has installed four 492 feet tall (from the tip of the blade) turbines on land off Head of the Bay Road in South Plymouth. The turbines, now owned by ConEdison Solutions, each generate two megawatts, for a total of eight megawatts. It’s considered the third largest wind project in Massachusetts, and Mass Energy will purchase approximately a third of the Renewable Energy Certificates from this project for seven years.

Camelot Park’s wind turbine was the first industrial scale wind turbine in Plymouth to come online, in November of 2012. At 375-feet-high to the tip of the blades, that was quite an accomplishment. The $4 million, 1.5-megawatt turbine generates plenty of electricity and no controversy thanks to its placement in an industrial park.

The other turbines didn’t fair as well, with legal disputes from disgruntled neighbors and plenty of backlash from the neighboring town of Bourne.

The towns many solar arrays, situated as many of them are residential areas, sparked plenty of controversy from neighbors who objected and continue to object to the deforestation many involve.

While Plymouth has no wind turbine bylaw, the town requires special permits for structures higher than 35 feet. Town Meeting passed a solar bylaw this fall, requiring a special permit for solar arrays in residential areas that exceed 30 acres.