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November 16, 2012

Residents relish turbine 'blade signing'

Residents make most of 'blade signing'

GLOUCESTER — The signatures of hundreds of Cape Ann community members will be spinning in the wind by the start of next year, thanks to residents who gathered to sign a wind turbine blade at an outdoor ceremony Friday.

The blade belongs to one of three turbines that will soon decorate the city’s sky by the start of the calendar year.

This turbine, to stand at Gloucester Engineering, is designed to power the city’s municipal buildings. The other two turbines, another at the Gloucester Engineering site and the third already erected on Varian property — all within Blackburn Industrial Park — will primarily generate power for those two companies.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk estimates the city will save $450,000 per year in energy costs, all stemming from wind, an energy source long utilized by Gloucesterites.

“For 300 of the 400 years we have been fishing from this port, it was the power of the wind that carried our fishermen out to do their work and brought them home again,” Kirk said during Friday’s ceremony. “And it was the power of the wind that caused 10,000 of our fishermen to go down to the sea in ships — never to return home again. Today, we seize the power of the wind in a different way.”

State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said Gloucester’s turbines enable the city to act as a leader in a statewide effort to create a platform for cleaner energy alternatives, and he commended residents’ support of the project.

“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’,” Tarr said. “And that’s what’s happened here.”

Among others who drew thanks at the ceremony were three O’Maley Middle School students — Alex LaBelle, Sofia Lane, and Cassandra McComiskey — all of whom volunteered to help install a small vertical axis turbine on top of O’Maley Middle School.

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