GOVERNOR PATRICK JOINS BERKSHIRE WIND OFFICIALS TO CUT RIBBON ON STATE'S FIRST UTILITY-SCALE ONSHORE WIND FARM
HANCOCK -- Thursday, May 5, 2011 -- Governor Deval Patrick today joined developers of the Berkshire Wind Power Project to cut the ribbon on the new ten-turbine project that will generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power approximately 6,000 homes in the region.
"This project marks a new era of renewable energy development in Massachusetts today," said Governor Patrick. "Creating scores of jobs in its construction, helping to create relief from the price volatility and pollution of imported fossil fuels, and advancing Massachusetts' nation-leading goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy, Berkshire Wind is a beacon of our clean energy future."
Located in Hancock and Lanesborough, Berkshire Wind makes use of a strong wind resource along the ridgeline of Brodie Mountain. The project is owned by the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation, comprising 15 non-profit public power entities, including the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and 14 consumer-owned municipal utilities that provide electricity to Ashburnham, Boylston, Groton, Holden, Hull Ipswich, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield and West Boylston.
While the state's large investor-owned utilities are required under the Green Communities Act to purchase a minimum percentage of renewable energy for their customers each year, municipal electric companies such as Berkshire Wind's owners are not under a similar mandate - making their project an especially noteworthy example of clean energy entrepreneurship.
"The Patrick-Murray Administration congratulates the owners of Berkshire Wind for the initiative and perseverance they have demonstrated in successfully developing the Commonwealth's first onshore wind farm," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said. "Through this project - and numerous other smaller wind projects across the state - we are making steady progress toward the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious wind energy goals."
At 15 MW, Berkshire Wind ushers in a new era for Massachusetts wind power, nearly doubling the Commonwealth's previous installed wind power capacity and bringing the total number of turbines currently installed in across the Commonwealth to 39. Offsetting the production of nearly 612,000 tons of carbon dioxide - Berkshire Wind furthers the Commonwealth's nation-leading greenhouse gas reduction goals. In accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008, Massachusetts must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, the project is expected to generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes, the equivalent of over 10 percent of households in Berkshire County.
"The Berkshire Wind Power Project, a project owned jointly by Massachusetts municipal utilities, will help to diversify our power supplies and stabilize costs over the long term by reducing reliance of fossil fuels," said H. Bradford White, Jr., President of the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation. "It also embodies the broader environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy development, consistent with the clean energy goals of the Commonwealth."
"The Berkshire Wind project marks a significant milestone in the Commonwealth's journey toward a clean energy future," said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Executive Director Patrick Cloney. "MassCEC looks forward to supporting responsibly sited renewable energy projects throughout the state that generate local clean energy to counter the rising cost of imported energy and fossil fuels."
Berkshire Wind is the newest addition to Massachusetts' dynamic and growing wind energy cluster. The ribbon-cutting comes on the heels of an event at Mount Wachusett Community College last week, where Administration officials celebrated the completion of two wind turbines that are expected to generate 97 percent of the campus' electricity.
Massachusetts is in the midst of a 30-fold increase in wind power capacity since the Patrick-Murray Administration took office - going from 3 MW installed in 2007 to an anticipated 90 MW either installed or in design and construction by the end of this year. Meanwhile the state's growing wind energy sector includes companies such as Vestas, Siemens, FloDesign, and First Wind. The Commonwealth will further cement its place as a wind energy leader with the opening this spring of the world's largest Wind Technology Test Center in Charlestown, and construction of the nation's first offshore wind farm - Cape Wind - set to begin as soon as late 2011.