GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 30, 2013

Turbines spark quick $60K city savings

The towering wind turbines rising above Blackburn Industrial Park have already translated into revenue with the city, clearing $60,000 in the first three months, according to Mayor Carolyn Kirk.

That was just one element of information shared Thursday night by Kirk and three experts at a wind energy panel discussion that prompted more than 300 Gloucester and Rockport residents to flock to the Sawyer Free Library for a panel discussion on wind energy.

Within three months worth of performance, Kirk said this year’s revenue projection for this calendar year will be $430,000. The only reason that is below the $450,000 estimate is that in the first few months of operation, there were glitches that needed to be addressed and required the turbines to be turned off. Once the operation is in full swing, Kirk said the city will be on track to meet its savings projections.

The city benefits because it partnered with Equity Industrial Turbines LLC, which erected the two turbines at Gloucester Engineering at Blackburn Industrial Park. The turbines were erected in November and put into operation on Dec. 31.

“They did all the work, took all the risk, and financed the two turbines for $10 million, and we collect the check,” said Kirk. “The more they spin, the more we get.”

Varian Semiconductors/Applied Materials, the city’s largest employer, paved the way in the permitting process by being the first to start the process of installing a wind turbine in Gloucester. Varian has the largest of the three. The motivation for both projects was their large consumption of electricity and a move to enter the realm of clean energy.

The Varian turbine is 328-feet tall and the diameter of the rotor is 328 feet. The other two turbines stand at 256 feet tall and their rotor diameter is 295 feet. The Gloucester Wind turbines weigh in at 683,433 pounds.

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