Worcester County Jail to install wind-turbine test tower

WEST BOYLSTON

Intent on reducing energy costs while also supporting renewable energy, Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis today announced the first step in the process to install wind turbines on the grounds of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction in West Boylston.

“Now more than ever we need to think outside the box,” Glodis said in a press release. “By investing in clean, renewable wind energy, we’re saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars while also planning for our long-term future.”

The wind turbine program is a joint venture between the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust and Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM).

The application for the wind turbine study was submitted by the Glodis’s office about eight months ago and a subsequent study and site analysis by the UMass Renewable Energy Research Laboratory (RERL), funded by DCAM, found that the Jail and House of Correction was suitable to proceed with the next step in the planning process: a 160 foot meteorological tower. The test tower will be used to gauge wind speed, direction, and turbulence. The tower was installed last week, and will remain in place for 12 months, Glodis said in the press release. Noise levels, environmental area and airspace will likewise be included in the study. Pending the results of this study, one 2.5 mega-watt wind turbine will be installed at a time. Once the entire project is complete, the Sheriff’s Office hopes to have three turbines in place.

“The wind project being explored for the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction is just the kind of initiative Governor Deval Patrick had in mind for his ‘Leading by Example’ effort to develop wind power at large state facilities,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said in the press release.  “I commend Sheriff Glodis and his staff for partnering with us as we expand wind power across the Commonwealth in pursuit of the Governor’s goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2020.”

Under ideal conditions, one 2.5 mega-watt turbine has the capacity to produce over 5.2 million kilo-watt hours of electricity in one year. That is roughly enough to meet the energy needs of over 500 households (the average U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kilo-watt hours per year).

By comparison, the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction uses approximately 6 million kilo-watt hours annually. Based on preliminary data, once the turbines are producing electricity, savings will likely exceed over $350,000. Any power that surpasses the jail’s needs would be sold back to the municipal grid.

source: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x363579403/Worcester-County-Jail-to-install-wind-turbine-test-tower

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