Only time will tell whether the city of Gloucester will realize as much as $225,000 in energy savings by the end of this fiscal year, and an estimated $450,000 annually through its use of wind power and the power purchase agreement it holds with Equity Industrial Turbines.
But there’s little question that the launch of the two Equity turbines being built now at Gloucester Engineering mark a bold new step for the city into the world of alternative energy. And in that vein, it was good to see so many people literally signing onto at least a piece of the project as part of an innovative “blade signing” ceremony hosted by Mayor Carolyn Kirk last Friday on the Gloucester Engineering property at Blackburn Industrial Park.
The event meant different things to different people — some signed names of family members as a symbol of togetherness, and as perhaps a legacy for all. But state Sen. Bruce Tarr noted what this project can mean for Gloucester and for other communities as well.
“The real challenge in alternative energy ... is getting folks to say ‘we want it here and now and we’ll do whatever it takes to get it done’; that’s what’s happened here,” Tarr said. And he’s right.
Kirk, members of the city’s Energy Commission, and the folks with the Gloucester Education Foundation, who helped pioneer the construction of a small turbine by students at O’Maley Middle School, have all made certain that alternative energy is front and center in this city from education to operation.
Yes, these turbines — each to be about 255 feet tall, just over half the 479-foot behemoth already standing at Varian Semiconductors/Applied Materials — will bring more change to the Blackburn area skyline. But their installation represents an important investment by Equity, which owns the Gloucester Engineering and is looking to power that revitalized facility, and the city, where Kirk is looking to steer some of the money currently spent on public building energy costs into development of a new Gloucester public safety facility.
That’s worth signing onto any day.