A $3.1 million bond from MassDevelopment has become the final financing piece to constructing a 263-foot-tall, $6 million wind turbine across from the wastewater-treatment plant on the Driftway in Scituate.
The bond was partially financed by the Department of Energy Resources and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and partially by Plymouth County, from which town officials sought help a year ago.
Although the initial plans were for construction to begin this past winter and to be finished by the fall, Department of Public Works Director Albert Bangert said construction is finally under way.
“The construction company is in full activity,” he said. “The plan is to install the turbine this winter, do the testing and final commission and have it spinning by Earth Day in late April.”
The delayed construction timetable was partially due to the financing trouble, Bangert said, but also the permitting specifications, which took longer than anticipated.
The turbine will be owned and operated by Scituate Wind LLC, a company created with Solaya Energy LLC and principals of Palmer Capital Corporation in 2009.
The town had initially approved the lease of the land in April 2009s Town Meeting, allowing the company to operate the turbine on the property for 15 years. The town has the option to renew the lease for two consecutive five-year terms.
Scituate officials estimate that the turbine will provide half of the town’s energy. Combined with the solar array that is to go on the landfill, by next year, 100 percent of the town’s energy needs will come from renewable sources.
“All of the town’s electricity in all of our schools, police station, town hall, all the electricity in street lights, water plant, sewer plant, harbormaster, it’s half of our total electric bill. And the solar field is another half of our electricity,” Bangert said.
The company pays $1 a year to lease the land, and in turn offers to sell all of the electricity generated to the town at a lower rate than the energy produced by National Grid.
It’s an endeavor that will ultimately save the town an estimated $3 million over the next 15 years.
“And if conditions are favorable to us in 2026, we have the option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years,” Bangert said.
According to Gordon Deane, the President of palmer Capital, the Scituate project will hopefully become a measuring stick for other communities.
“I would like to encourage all South Shore communities, to consider renewable energy projects,” Deane said.
The president said he attempted to get similar initiatives started in Cohasset, where Palmer Capital is located, to no avail.
Still, he is hopeful that renewable energy will become the way of the future. “Scituate is hosting the turbine but is also getting the benefits,” he said. “While some people don’t like the visual, their town is saving money as well as generating renewable power.”
Palmer Capital is also attempting a similar project in Fair Haven, Conn.