Wind power at Massachusetts Military Reservation
By Jim Liedell
A big step to save taxpayer money and reduce harmful air emissionsThe Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) recently announced that a new large (389 feet high to highest blade tip, 1,500-kilowatt capacity) wind turbine will be up and operating within two years, at the southwest corner of the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). Project Manager Rose Forbes said this is a big step to save taxpayer money and reduce harmful air emissions from power plants that now generate electricity used to run AFCEE’s groundwater-cleanup equipment.
AFCEE’s turbine will reduce by 30 percent their $2.2 million annual electrical cost to power eight groundwater-treatment systems, and pay off the turbine’s installed cost in about five years. Polluting emissions from fossil-fueled electricity plants currently supplying that amount of AFCEE electricity will be reduced annually by 6.74 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 11,833 nitrous oxides, 11,443 sulfur dioxide and other pollutants.
This project at MMR shows that tall wind turbines can be sited relatively close to airports, air bases and even the PAVE PAWS radar installation.Environment Chemical Co. won the $4.6 million AFCEE contract, including purchasing a Model 1500 Fuhrlander wind turbine, site work and completing other actions needed for turbine startup in 2009. AFCEE public activities included presentations, 30 days of public comment, and earning a Final Environmental Assessment that determined that the project would have no significant negative impact on the quality of the natural or human environment.
This project at MMR shows that tall wind turbines can be sited relatively close to airports, air bases and even the PAVE PAWS radar installation. AFCEE’s wind turbine will provide economic, health and other benefits. I suggest we all support our town’s energy or similar committee when they are working to obtain and install wind turbines. These graceful wind turbines will reduce town costs, and help to hold down our seemingly ever-increasing property taxes.