Aquacultural Research Corp. appears before Dennis Selectmen August 3rd over wind turbine

Shellfish farm looks to built wind turbine at Chapin Beach to combat high energy cost

Historic images of Cape Cod from 150 years ago show how dependent the Cape Cod economy was on wind power. Now in 2010, until improved electrical technologies and efficiencies become available, one Cape Cod farm needs to turn to wind again.

Aquacultural Research Corporation (ARC) is a shellfish farming facility, locally owned, that has occupied its present site on Chapin Beach for fifty years since incorporation in 1960.  It is the oldest, longest continually operating, and one of the largest, shellfish hatcheries in the country.  Its primary products are clams (quahogs) and oysters.

On August 11th the ARC owners will appear before the Old King’s HighwayHistoric District Commission to present their proposal for the turbineto the Historic Commission.

ARC operations require significant amounts of energy to spawn and grow the shellfish seed. With Cape Cod’s electrical rates among the highest in the country, a State grant was awarded to ARC for a wind turbine to offset the extreme cost of energy associated with ARC farming activities. On Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 pm, the ARC owners, Dick Kraus, Gail Hart, and Sue Machie, will present information to the Dennis Board of Selectmen describing the proposed turbine and explaining why the turbine is necessary for the farm’s continued existence.

The proposed ARC wind turbine is a 600kw Elecon turbine, similar to the 660kW turbine at the edge of Cape Cod Canal that powers the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Like the MMA turbine, the Elecon turbine would stand 165 feet to the hub and 243 feet to the tip of a blade. Closest residents to the ARC turbine would be 2700 feet distant. At the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, twenty-four residents are within 860 feet. No complaints have come from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy neighborhood.

Visual simulations will be presented to the Dennis Board of Selectmen to demonstrate the impact of the turbine on neighboring historic viewsheds.  With over one and a half mile distance from the turbine to the closest historic view (Taylor Bray Farm), the photo simulation demonstrates the turbine’s low visibility.

On August 11th the ARC owners will appear before the Old King’s Highway Historic District Commission to present their proposal for the turbine to the Historic Commission.

Cape Cod’s shellfishing community and towns depend on ARC for its seedlings. According to Stephen Wright, a Chatham Oyster Farmer and President of the Massachusetts Aquaculture Association, “We rely on ARC to provide us with good, clean stock for our shellfish farms. ARC keeps the multi-million dollar Cape and Islands shellfishing industry healthy and local. We need to support the shellfish farm by allowing it to use wind power. After all, that’s what powered the farms and saltworks back in the old days.”

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