Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Turbine project spins ahead

By Shir Haberman
December 11, 2007 6:00 AM

KITTERY, Maine — With no residents speaking against the project, the Town Council on Monday night unanimously approved the release of up to $50,000 from the town grant match account to match a Public Utilities Commission grant of a similar amount for the construction of a wind turbine at the solid-waste transfer facility.

In a subsequent action, the council voted unanimously to borrow up to $100,000 from the solid waste equipment reserve account for the project. This virtually guarantees the funding will be available if the project passes muster with the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Both those land-use boards will hold public hearings on the project, which could see a 50-kilowatt wind turbine on a 125-foot tower installed at the transfer facility, supplying between 80,000 and 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to the station and the Shapleigh School.

Town Manager Jon Carter had sent requests for proposals to nine companies. Three responded, and the low bidder was Entegrity, a company based in Boulder, Colo.

The bid was $185,000 for the unit and installation, with no maintenance costs for the first five years. Beginning in the sixth year, the annual maintenance cost to the town would be $1,350.

"This was the best proposal," said Councilor Glenn Shwaery, who is also a member of the town's Energy Advisory Committee. "It fits best as an introductory project."

Dr. Cameron Wake, a Kittery resident, University of New Hampshire professor and member of the advisory committee, said the town can expect to recoup the cost of the turbine in energy savings and the sale of unused electricity to Central Maine Power, within the next 10-15 years. With the lifespan of the turbine placed at a minimum of 25 years, Wake said that means the town would be reaping the benefits of nearly free electricity for approximately that same time period.

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