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Wind project gains momentum

As soon as a few papers are filed and the ground thaws, it looks like Harwich will be getting back into the alternative energy business. Selectmen last week took another step toward the eventual construction of a wind turbine behind the high school on Oak Street.

The decision follows a site visit by a small group of local and state energy officials last October who visited various locations around town - the high school, water department, and Cranberry Valley golf course - looking for the best place to set up a wind test tower. Data collected by the test tower would be used to confirm whether it's worth it to install a wind turbine to produce electricity.

All this comes after the town ended a two-year relationship with a private wind developer last summer. That developer, Brian Braginton-Smith, had erected a test tower at the transfer station, which failed to gather sufficient data. The town then decided to work instead with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Following the site visits, officials from the renewable energy research laboratory at the University of Massachusetts prepared a report. Last week, Barry Worth, chairman of the town's utility and energy conservation commission, submitted the report's findings to selectmen.

Basically, he said, any one of the three locations would be just fine.

The three sites under consideration are within a mile of each other, and data culled at one location could be used to evaluate the feasibility... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The decision follows a site visit by a small group of local and state energy officials last October who visited various locations around town - the high school, water department, and Cranberry Valley golf course - looking for the best place to set up a wind test tower. Data collected by the test tower would be used to confirm whether it's worth it to install a wind turbine to produce electricity.

All this comes after the town ended a two-year relationship with a private wind developer last summer. That developer, Brian Braginton-Smith, had erected a test tower at the transfer station, which failed to gather sufficient data. The town then decided to work instead with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Following the site visits, officials from the renewable energy research laboratory at the University of Massachusetts prepared a report. Last week, Barry Worth, chairman of the town's utility and energy conservation commission, submitted the report's findings to selectmen.

Basically, he said, any one of the three locations would be just fine.

The three sites under consideration are within a mile of each other, and data culled at one location could be used to evaluate the feasibility of a turbine at any of the three locales. Since the town already has the permits needed to erect the test tower at the school location, it's the logical choice, Worth told the board.

According to the report, it's estimated that there's plenty of wind in Harwich for a turbine. Data gathered in Orleans support this hypothesis, and Brewster will soon begin gathering wind data from a test tower scheduled to be erected there. But the report said that Harwich should still have its own test tower, as local data gathered near the eventual turbine location are useful in planning what type of turbine to install.

Experts analyzed each of the three locations to make sure there were no "fatal flaws," or issues that would prevent the installation of a test tower or wind turbine. Such fatal flaws include the accessibility of the site to vehicles carrying the 130-foot-long turbine blades, distance from power lines, noise impact on nearby homes, and interference with aircraft operating at the Chatham airport.

Deputy Fire Chief William Flynn told the board that medevac helicopters use the field in front of the high school, but that a test tower behind the school shouldn't interfere. However, if it were determined that solar lights were required to illuminate the tower for safety purposes, then one of the other sites might be used. But, Worth added, "it doesn't seem to be a problem. ... As far as our commission is concerned we're just about ready to go."

The test tower will be 50 feet tall and be supported by guy wires. A cleared field of roughly an acre is required. All three potential sites have sufficient acreage, though trees would have to be removed at town expense. Worth indicated that he planned to speak with Lincoln Hooper, director of the division of highways and maintenance, about the possibility of town employees doing the clearing.

The next step is for the board of selectmen to send a written request to the renewable energy research laboratory asking that the test tower be installed. In addition, the board must sign a property loan agreement by which the lab loans the town the tower and related testing equipment. Selectmen voted to send the loan agreement to town counsel for review before they sign it.  

Source: http://www2.townonline.com/...

JAN 11 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/944-wind-project-gains-momentum
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