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Otis wind turbine to start generating power, revenue for town  

Funding for the project came in part from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly funded organization that works with state government to promote clean energy technology in the commonwealth. The center provided financial support for a feasibility study, said wind program Director Nils Borgen, and is still contributing to the development of the project.

Credit:  By Eoin Higgins | The Berkshire Eagle | April 17, 2017 | www.berkshireeagle.com ~~

OTIS – Wind will soon help power municipal buildings in Otis and add to town coffers.

The community will power up its first wind turbine by the end of May, according to Town Administrator Christopher Morris.

The turbine will sit off Algerie Road on the northeast end of town, joining a private turbine a few miles away at the Williams Stone Quarry that has generated a sizable amount of energy for that business.

The town’s turbine will generate energy for Town Hall, the transfer station, the Farmington River School, two fire stations and the wastewater treatment plant. That will take up about 5 to 10 percent of the energy produced, Morris said.

The remainder will be sold to electricity distributor Eversource.

Town voters approved borrowing $6.4 million to fund the project through a ballot question on Sept. 8, 2015. The bond will be paid off over 24 years.

“After paying for the bond, insurance, and future maintenance,” Morris said, “the town will get between $200,000 and $250,000 a year.”

Priscilla Ress, an Eversource spokeswoman, said the company and Otis have been ironing out details.

“We’ve been working very closely with them,” she said.

Wind turbines are a growing part of the clean energy industry. The large, usually three-pronged fan-like towers take the energy from the wind blowing the blades and transform it into electricity.

The turbine is located in a sparsely populated area, Morris said, along the same ridgeline as the quarry.

“Our wind is a proven resource,” Morris said. “There are other suitable sites nearby and we are thinking about adding one or two more turbines.”

Money help

Funding for the project came in part from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly funded organization that works with state government to promote clean energy technology in the commonwealth. The center provided financial support for a feasibility study, said wind program Director Nils Borgen, and is still contributing to the development of the project.

“We have an eye on the process,” said Borgen.

Work on the turbine is being led by Robert F. Audet, Inc. of East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The company is experienced in turbine construction, having installed 10 turbines in its home state.

“My team is well-experienced,” Stephen Landry, the project leader, told The Eagle.

Those turbines were all supplied by a German company, Vensys, which has a location in Rhode Island. Otis’ turbine is also being supplied by Vensys.

The tower is coming down from Quebec, making transportation difficult under the province’s regulations. Morris said that during the thawing months of spring, trucks carrying anything so heavy as parts of a turbine tower are not allowed on Quebec roads.

Morris said parts are due to arrive in mid-April.

By that time Landry’s team should have poured the concrete base of the tower. Both the foundation and erection of the tower are being sub-contracted out, Landry said. Once the tower is up, the team will connect it to the Eversource power grid so the company can access – and purchase – the electricity.

Morris said the town is considering its options for the cash the turbine will generate for the town. One possibility is a cooperative to deliver cheap electricity to the townspeople at wholesale prices.

Another possibility, and the more likely one at the moment, is using the cash from the turbine for capital projects.

“We could buy a fire truck,” said Morris, “paid for by the wind.”

Source:  By Eoin Higgins | The Berkshire Eagle | April 17, 2017 | www.berkshireeagle.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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