Mar 30, 2013

Forum Follow-Up: Gloucester Wind Energy

Here’s a great follow-up to our February Sustainability Forum with Rick Johnson of Varian/Applied Materials. That was when Rick gave us a thorough, behind-the-scenes perspective on their wind energy strategy.

Last Thursday night 300 Cape Ann residents heard from a panel of experts that included Rick as well as: Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk; Tom Michelman of Boreal RenewableEnergy Development in Arlington, who presented turbine study highlights; and Sumul Shah, CEO of Solaya Energy, who discussed turbine construction and operation.

The headline from the Gloucester Times sums it up nicely:
March 30, 2013
Turbines spark quick $60K city savings
By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer
 — The towering wind turbines rising above Blackburn Industrial Park have already translated into revenue with the city, clearing $60,000 in the first three months, according to Mayor Carolyn Kirk.
That was just one element of information shared Thursday night by Kirk and three experts at a wind energy panel discussion that prompted more than 300 Gloucester and Rockport residents to flock to the Sawyer Free Library for a panel discussion on wind energy.
Within three months worth of performance, Kirk said this year’s revenue projection for this calendar year will be $430,000. The only reason that is below the $450,000 estimate is that in the first few months of operation, there were glitches that needed to be addressed and required the turbines to be turned off. Once the operation is in full swing, Kirk said the city will be on track to meet its savings projections.
The city benefits because it partnered with Equity Industrial Turbines LLC, which erected the two turbines at Gloucester Engineering at Blackburn Industrial Park. The turbines were erected in November and put into operation on Dec. 31.
“They did all the work, took all the risk, and financed the two turbines for $10 million, and we collect the check,” said Kirk. “The more they spin, the more we get.”
Varian Semiconductors/Applied Materials, the city’s largest employer, paved the way in the permitting process by being the first to start the process of installing a wind turbine in Gloucester. Varian has the largest of the three. The motivation for both projects was their large consumption of electricity and a move to enter the realm of clean energy. 

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