Deer Island Installs Wind Turbines, Leads by Example

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, joined by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, celebrated on Aug. 11 the installation, now under way, of two large wind turbines on the grounds of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's (MWRA) Deer Island wastewater treatment facility as a symbol of the states' commitment to clean energy.

“From today forward, passengers arriving at Logan Airport from all over the world will fly in and see the two turbines being installed today powering the cleanup of Boston Harbor,” said Patrick. “The message to all who see these turbines is clear: The Commonwealth is committed to taking a leadership role on clean energy, beginning with our own state government facilities.”

Patrick's 2007 Executive Order 484, “Leading By Example – Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings” set ambitious standards for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by state agencies, as well as using more renewable power – 15 percent of state government energy use by 2015, 30 percent by 2020. In 2008, Patrick came to Deer Island to cut the ribbon on a 100-kilowatt solar panel installation.

Standing 190 feet tall and with capacity of 660 kilowatts each, for a total of 1.2 megawatts, the two Deer Island wind turbines will generate more than 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. All of that electricity will be consumed on-site, displacing electricity that would be purchased from the grid and saving the authority an estimated $250,000 per year. MWRA plans to install three more wind turbines at the facility, with the Federal Aviation Administration agreeing to allow the turbines to be installed one at a time, after 30 days of operation with no negative impact on aviation for each additional turbine.

Currently, Deer Island gets 23 percent of its energy from on-site renewable resources, including a steam turbine fueled by methane gas recaptured during the wastewater treatment process, hydroelectric power generated by treated water flowing through the outfall tunnel, and solar panels. The two wind turbines will bring Deer Island to 26 percent self-generated renewable energy.

In addition to the wind turbines, MWRA is receiving federal stimulus funding for an additional 180-kW solar installation on Deer Island. This $1.2 million design/build project is one of several projects for MWRA under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, which requires for the first time investment in “green infrastructure” projects that make these facilities more energy efficient and driven by renewable power. Other projects include a wind turbine at a local pump station and several large solar installations at other MWRA facilities.

“Every kilowatt we generate on-site reduces the cost of purchased electricity, and that's good news for our ratepayers,” said MWRA executive director Frederick A. Laskey.

Applications were submitted for Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) low-interest funding, authorized by ARRA, for 4.5 MW of solar at over 50 state sites, and projects at state facilities totaling 10+ MW have been identified for a large solar procurement taking place this fall under ARRA State Energy Program funding.

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