To meet growing demand for alternative energy, Boston recently instituted the Wind Energy Zoning Provision Article 88, which established zoning regulations and standards for the construction of wind energy facilities in the city. Now, Boston is looking to construct a wind turbine project on Moon Island that would power 800 homes in Boston and Quincy. In June, Boston received a $400,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to help fund the project.
Just across the bay from Moon Island, wind turbines have been helping to power the town of Hull for over 20 years. In 1985, Hull constructed a 40kW wind turbine on the grounds of Hull High School. It is estimated that the turbine saved the town $70,000 before it was damaged beyond repair by a wind storm in 1997. In 2001, as part of a joint initiative by the local group Citizen Advocates for Renewal Energy, UMass Amherst’s Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, and Hull Municipal Light Plant, the town constructed a new 660kW wind turbine at the high school (seen right). Then in 2006, the town completed the installation of a 1.8 megawatt wind turbine.
Presently, Hull’s turbines satisfy 10% of its entire energy needs, but the town continues to look for options to expand its green energy. Since 2007, the construction of a 15 megawatt offshore wind farm has been under consideration. Also, this past August an analyst from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute began research on Hull’s waterways for the feasibility of underwater turbines, but no projects are currently underway.
In addition to industrial turbines, more options are being developed for localities and individuals looking to include wind in their energy portfolios at a smaller scale. Several companies are producing smaller, quieter, and sleeker wind turbines designed to work in dense urban environments. For instance, the Eddy GT, a new 1 kW vertical axis turbine developed by Urban Green Energy, is only 2.7 meters tall and designed to fit on an urban rooftop. Australia-based EcoWhispher Turbines is currently developing a 20 kW turbine that is touted to have “near silent operation.” According to EcoWhishper, this turbine features a horizontal axis design with 30 blades and is well-equipped for office buildings, commercial sites, and apartments. Finally, famous designer Philippe Starck (seen left) entered the micro-wind turbine arena with his design of a 400w & 1kW turbine, made by Pramac, an Italian producer of power generation equipment. With options like these, wind energy is increasingly becoming viable at all sizes.