Article

CHARIHO LANDS GRANT FOR WIND-ENERGY STUDY

CHARLESTOWN - In a town where the height of 40-foot buildings recently sparked debate about the preservation of scenic views, how do 450-foot, spinning wind turbines sound?

Members of the Town Council have drafted their support for a grant application by the Chariho Regional School District that could give it up to $25,000 for a study on wind energy.

The grant, which is offered by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, would allow the district to explore sites throughout Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond that are best suitable for large-scale windmills - structures that could substantially reduce school energy costs, officials say.

Of the three district towns, Charlestown's coastline presents the most promising opportunities for wind-powered turbines, said Chariho Assistant Superintendent Philip D. Thornton.

"It's our goal to offset all our energy needs with this idea," he told town councilors on Monday. "There's also the potential to sell energy back to National Grid."

With district energy bills climbing as high as 65 percent over the last several years, wind turbines carry the potential of generating up to 2.5 million Watts of energy, said Chariho's Director of Maintenance and Grounds Dan Cartier.

"There's enough wind source here to provide enough energy for the entire school district," he said. "The more windmills you install, the more energy you get."

"The cost of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Members of the Town Council have drafted their support for a grant application by the Chariho Regional School District that could give it up to $25,000 for a study on wind energy.
 
The grant, which is offered by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, would allow the district to explore sites throughout Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond that are best suitable for large-scale windmills - structures that could substantially reduce school energy costs, officials say.
 
Of the three district towns, Charlestown's coastline presents the most promising opportunities for wind-powered turbines, said Chariho Assistant Superintendent Philip D. Thornton.
 
"It's our goal to offset all our energy needs with this idea," he told town councilors on Monday. "There's also the potential to sell energy back to National Grid."
 
With district energy bills climbing as high as 65 percent over the last several years, wind turbines carry the potential of generating up to 2.5 million Watts of energy, said Chariho's Director of Maintenance and Grounds Dan Cartier.
 
"There's enough wind source here to provide enough energy for the entire school district," he said. "The more windmills you install, the more energy you get."
 
"The cost of wind energy is very competitive with natural gas," he added. "It's the fastest growing energy sector."
 
Cartier said up to two turbines could be placed across 10 sites, with heights varying from location to location. The annual maintenance cost associated with each turbine would be about $35,000 to $40,000, he said.
 
If the district receives one of four state awards later this spring, Thornton said test towers would be constructed and monitored for several months through 2007.
 
In addition to public lands, turbines could find a home on private property - giving local landowners the benefit of a lease fee.
 
"It could be mutually beneficial if the public and private sectors cooperate together," Thornton said.
 
Cartier said computer model data at the Rhode Island State Energy Office has already pegged the Charlestown Elementary School as a potential windmill site. The district has also eyed the Ninigret Park and Conservation Area off Route 1A, he said.
 
Other potential sites include Shannock Hill in Richmond and the town of Hopkinton's Public Works Department garage on Woodville Road.
 
Earlier this month, Richmond's Town Council unanimously endorsed the district's efforts to move forward with its grant application. Thornton and Cartier plan to bring their request for support to Hopkinton's Town Council next Monday.
 
Asked by Charlestown Councilor Forrester C. Safford about the potential of noise pollution, Thornton said taller turbines produce significantly less noise than shorter models. "If they (turbine rotors) are up higher, you're not dealing with those kinds of issues," he said.
 
Town Council President Deborah A. Carney said the construction of turbines would require a significant amount of public input to address potential questions and concerns, while Councilor Katherine Waterman said the district's plan has the potential to spark a new industry in the town of Charlestown.
 
Diana LaPaglia of South Kingstown, who owns an undeveloped, 1.5-acre parcel on Charlestown Beach Road, said wind turbines are something she could envision on her own property.
 
"This is something I wanted to do years ago," she said following Monday night's presentation. "Knowing energy is going to be an issue in the next century, I like the idea."
 
Thornton said private property owners who are interested in having their sites assessed should contact his office on the Chariho campus at (401)-364-1150.


Source: http://www.thewesterlysun.c...

MAR 1 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1482-chariho-lands-grant-for-wind-energy-study
back to top