Library from Massachusetts
Amherst - The federal government has awarded $100,000 to the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts to explore a partially wind-powered desalination plant that could turn seawater into fresh drinking water.
New England faces major near-term challenges in all parts of its energy infrastructure including natural gas facilities, electric transmission lines and electric power generation, according to a report released today by the New England Energy Alliance.
The Hawley Wind Study Committee was established by town meeting vote and was directed to issue a report to the selectmen. Interested citizens were asked to submit a letter of interest to selectmen who then selected the committee. The committee first examined potential positive financial benefits to the town. Community based wind development was explored for a piece of town-owned land with the assistance of the UMass Renewable Energy Resource Lab. The committee determined that development of the site was not feasible. Lengthily discussions on the associated various negative impacts of wind plants followed. It was determined that our current bylaws would not require any form of local review to minimize these impacts. A report outlining the above was provided to the selectmen concluding that the appropriate course of action was to establish a wind power bylaw.
The purposes of this wind-generated energy production facilities section are to: A. Protect the scenic, historic, environmental, and natural or man-made resources of the community without prohibiting alternative energy technologies to be developed. B. Provide standards and requirements for regulation, placement, construction, monitoring, design, modification and removal of wind facilities. C. Provide a procedural basis for action within a reasonable period of time for request for authorization to place, construct, operate, or modify wind facilities. D. Preserve property values. E. Locate wind facilities so that they do not have negative impacts such as, but not limited to, attractive nuisance, noise, falling objects, general safety, welfare and quality of life, wildlife and the environment in the community. F. Require owners of wind facilities to configure them so as to minimize and mitigate the adverse impact of the wind facilities.
When considering local bylaws regulating wind turbine development, towns need to consider whether and to what degree they should be encouraged. The question of how much revenue they might generate for the town will be among the first issues raised. To determine this, there are many things a town with land suitable for commercial wind development needs to consider. Particular attention needs to be paid to long-term trends as well. This paper explores some of these factors and their implications.
This map is also available in NWW's photo gallery.
Is it all worth it? We need to bridle our inherent optimism for emerging technology with lessons learned from the past.
Hilltowns need to make sure their interests are taken into account when distant investors and persons advocating this technology, who won't be hosting it in their backyards, eye our ridgelines for their projects
"Today, the task before the Joint Committee (regarding Bill S40) is to hear from the public on what would appear simple - the giving and taking of “driveway” easements between the Commonwealth’s Wachusett Reservation (Stagecoach Trail) and the Town of Princeton’s legal “right of way” for its wind power site. As well, the town is offering the to transfer to the Commonwealth, ownership of, five acres of their 16-acre wind site. I urge the Joint Committee for Bill S40 to carefully consider the following with regard to your recommendations an for easement exchange and accession of land from Princeton: 1. The Wachusett Wind Site is a 16 acre parcel wholly surrounded by the Wachusett Reservation and flanked within few feet, on three sides, by the well traveled Midstate, Harrington and Stagecoach trails. This portion of the state park is accessible and popular. 2. The present eight windmills are 120-feet high and are proposed to be replaced with two windmills as high as a 35- story building and with blades that stretch as wide as a football field - windmills whose elevation will come with 150- feet of the mountain’s elevation. 3. In the wintertime Wachusett experiences unusual ice storms in number and severity 4. In the wintertime, the windmills accumulate ice - then release it when it melts and falls, when it is blown off by wind or is thrown it off by the rotating blades 5. This ice has put holes in the roofs of utilty buildings on the wind farm and scattters itself across the fully accesssible wind site, the state reservation and hiking trails, threatening state park viisitors The risk associated with being struck windmill ice can be quantified and is relative to one’s distance from the windmills and will increase geometrically with the proposed windmills. 6. Windmills and wind data collection towers at Wachusett have structurally failed five times in twenty years on the Town of Princeton (PMLD) site. This also threatens the state park visitors as well with collapsing metal structures and flying blades. Proposed windmills and data towers will not be installed in compliance withthe manufacuturer’s recommendations and safety warnings."......
The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University has studied the Cape Wind proposal in considerable detail, and offers the following comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Reference file no. NAE-2004-338-
The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University has studied the Cape Wind proposal in considerable detail, and offers the following comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Reference file no. NAE-2004-338-1: 1. A systematic cost-benefit analysis – missing from the DEIS – shows that, with 90% confidence, the costs of the project outweigh the benefits by between $83 million and $333 million, with a mean measure of net cost of $209 million (equivalent to 2.0 cents/kWh produced). 2. The DEIS conclusion of “no adverse impacts to tourism and recreation” is not supported by the data. 3. The DEIS conclusion that the project would not adversely affect property values is based on a flawed study, ignores other research, and is untenable. 4. The DEIS estimates of the value of health improvements are greatly exaggerated (at $53 million annually). Our own estimates show health improvements of $7 million, and even this may be overstated.
Scope of Project: Offload windmill components from rail cars to trucks, for transporation west along Route 2 approximately 7.5 miles up Florida Mountain, for final installation as part of the Hoosac Wind Project in Florida and Monroe, MA.
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
If there was ever a sterling example of NIMBY (and I’m reluctant to use such a disparaging term when describing the legitimate concerns of citizens for their community) your position is it. I find it absurd that you consider the hills of western Masachusetts any less of a national treasure than Nantucket Sound, and suitable for “wind factories.”
"It's a mechanical monstrosity. ... It's ugly. It makes noise, said Beverly Whitcomb. It makes a whopping sound which will just drive you nuts."
Written by Douglas Giuffre, Jonathan Haughton, David Tuerck and John Barrett, this report analyses in economic terms the costs and benefits of a proposed 130 turbine wind plant in Nantucket Sound. It concludes that the economic costs substantially exceed the associated economic gains. This is a follow-up study to one published by Beacon Hill in October 2003 entitled "Blowing in the Wind: Offshore Wind and the Cape Cod Economy"
Researched and written by Eleanor Tillinghast of Green Berkshires Inc. this is a comprehensive study of the probable impact of industrial wind plants on the rural character, quality-of-life and economy of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Specific issues addressed include visual aesthetics, tourism, property values, public roads and public safety.
"Wind turbines generate noise from multiple mechanical and aerodynamic sources. As the technology has advanced, wind turbines have gotten much quieter, but noise from wind turbines is still a public concern. The problems associated with wind turbine noise have been one of the more studied environmental impact areas in wind energy engineering. Noise levels can be measured, but, similar to other environmental concerns, the public's perception of the noise impact of wind turbines is in part a subjective determination. Noise is defined as any unwanted sound. Concerns about noise depend on 1) the level of intensity, frequency, frequency distribution and patterns of the noise source; 2) background noise levels; 3) the terrain between the emitter and receptor; and 4) the nature of the noise receptor. The effects of noise on people can be classified into three general categories (National Wind Coordinating Committee, 1998): 1) Subjective effects including annoyance, nuisance, dissatisfaction 2) Interference with activities such as speech, sleep, and learning 3) Physiological effects such as anxiety, tinnitus, or hearing loss"........ prepared by the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering University of Massachusetts at Amherst
This presentation indicates that for New England the increasing demand for summer-time electricity is greater and increasing faster than winter-time demand. The fast-rising need for power in summer will likely result in construction of new power plants to keep ahead of demand - although inland industrial wind plants will not be able to contribute much to this demand period due to their very low capacity factor during summer months.