600 kW Wind Turbine Sited at Worcester School

Submitted by Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
2006-12-07 13:01:22

State’s Renewable Energy Trust Makes Major Investment
To Build First Wind Turbine In Worcester at Holy Name High School
$575,000 grant to defray costs of 600-kilowatt turbine

(November 3, 2006) Worcester, MA—Plans to harness clean energy on Vernon Hill in Worcester took a major step forward today with the announcement of a $575,000 grant from the state’s Renewable Energy Trust to help with the design and construction of a new 600-kilowatt wind turbine.

The project is the result of a partnership between Holy Name Central Catholic Jr. Sr. High School, Congressman James P. McGovern, Worcester Polytechnic Institute students, state and local officials and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

“When Congressman McGovern brought school officials to meet with us six months ago, we were extremely excited about the prospects for a major wind energy installation in Worcester,” said Mitchell Adams, Executive Director of MTC, which manages the state’s Renewable Energy Trust. “The school put together such a thorough application, it scored number one out of nineteen applications for funding. This turbine will educate people throughout the region about the benefits of wind energy and help us on the path toward a cleaner energy future for our state.”

The turbine, which will be located adjacent to the football field on the school’s campus, will generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 135 homes. The school will use 54% of the power onsite, while the rest of the energy will go into the electric grid. The turbine, which could be installed as early as November 2007, will stand approximately 262 feet tall to the tip of the blade.

“I am thrilled that this innovative project is another step closer to reality,” Congressman McGovern said. “With this use of sustainable energy, Holy Name and the Diocese will be seen as pioneers in the effort to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. This project will serve as a model around the state and across the country. I want to commend the Mass. Tech Collaborative for their enthusuastic support.”

“The active support of Congressman McGovern and his staff has been critical toward moving this project ahead, and we’re truly grateful for his leadership and involvement,” said Steve Perla, Superintendent of the Diocese of Worcester Catholic Schools.

“There is no doubt that savings tens of thousands of dollars is critical to the school, but as an environmentalist, I have a real passion for this project and what it means in terms of being a good steward of the environment,” said Holy Name Headmaster Mary Riordan.

Under Riordan’s leadership, the school has demonstrated its commitment to energy conservation through energy efficiency improvements, and with the new turbine, it will expand that commitment. The turbine will also be an important educational tool, with plans underway to incorporate it into the school’s science curriculum.

The project has already helped one group of students get valuable hands-on experience with wind energy. Students from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) conducted an extensive feasibility study, finding that the campus has a strong wind resource and is an excellent site for a wind turbine.

“It is truly exciting to see this positive outcome of our students' work,” said Richard F. Vaz, Dean of the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division at WPI. “This is a wonderful example of the benefits of WPI's unique project-enriched approach to education. In Worcester and 20 other sites around the world, our students have the opportunity to solve problems and make a difference for communities and organizations like Holy Name.”

The school will continue to work with offices in the City of Worcester for approvals surrounding the turbine’s siting, and will hold public hearings for residents who would like to learn more about the project.

The turbine project was one of 19 grants totaling more than $4 million awarded in the most recent round of awards from the Renewable Energy Trust’s Large Onsite Renewables Initiative, which supports renewable energy projects with installed capacity greater than 10 kilowatts. Nine of the awards were for feasibility studies, while the remaining 10 were for design and construction. The Holy Name turbine was the only wind project awarded design and construction funding in this round.

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