GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 17, 2012

Gloucester's power play

City estimates turbine deal will save $500K yearly

The city is expecting to save roughly $250,000 on its energy costs this fiscal year after a pair of 2 megawatt wind turbines at Gloucester Engineering are switched on in December.

And City Chief Financial Officer Jeff Towne said he expects the city will save over $500,000 on its electric bill in the 2013-14 fiscal year, all through a power purchase agreement the city signed with Equity Industrial Turbines, a division of the Equity Industrial Partners corporation that owns the Gloucester Engineering property.

The city signed the agreement in January and agreed to purchase all of its electricity from Equity’s twin turbines that are part of the giant structures being delivered to Varian and Gloucester Engineering this week and in the weeks to come.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Tuesday she’d like the money that Gloucester saves on its power bill to go toward building a new joint public safety facility. Without the electric savings, she said the city would have needed an override to build it.

“That’s my goal,” Kirk said, “to be able to invest in needed capital projects without going to the taxpayer for an override.”

Gloucester uses just around 11 million kilowatts per hour of electricity each year to power municipal buildings from Plum Cove School to the Wastewater Treatment plant, at a current cost of roughly $1.5 million.

Equity Industrial Partners estimates that the pair of turbines will meet the 11 million kilowatt hour demand, at the least.

“We have a really good sense of how much wind energy potential (is at the site),” said Richard Klieman, Equity’s representative. “It’s one of the windiest land based sites in the state.”

The city saves on its electric bill through what the state calls “net metering credits.”

Equity’s turbines will plug into a city-owned meter, and Klieman said that for each kilowatt hour the turbines produce, the city generates a State Department of Public Utilities designated “net metering credit.”

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