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Brendt Gonsalves: The Future of Wind Technology
Building a Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown - the largest of its kind in the world - was only a dream for those involved, until Stimulus came into the picture.
According to Rahul Yarala, Executive Director of the Wind Technology Testing Center, the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust committed $13 million to the project and the Department of Energy kicked in another $2 million but that still wasn't anywhere near the $40 million the project needed.
Soon after the Stimulus Act was passed, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center went to work applying for a grant. Because the design work was already done, this was truly a "shovel ready" project. In May, they found out that the center was awarded the $25 million it needed to develop the state's Wind Technology Testing Center.
"We were jumping up and down when we heard," says Yarala. "We went to all of a sudden being a fully funded project." Yarala adds that the project will create between 250 and 300 construction jobs, 30 design team jobs and 8 administrative jobs.
Turner Construction Company won the contract to build the center and according to Brendt Gonsalves, the project superintendent, the company was excited to get this job in a very competitive market.
Gonsalves believes that wind blades are the new frontier in renewable energy. As he points out, fossil fuel sources are a fixed quantity and they are being depleted. "Wind and solar technologies are terrific. We need to look at other sources," he says. Yarala agrees. "Renewable energy is the future," says Rahul. "Stimulus had confidence in renewable energy."
As for this project, Gonsalves emphasizes that everybody involved is very appreciative of the role the Stimulus award played. "Stimulus is fantastic," he says. "Without it, this project would not exist. And it's creating jobs for years to come."
In the quarter ending December 31, the Commonwealth conducted the largest procurement of solar photovoltaic energy systems in the state's history: 12 projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities around the state totaling 4 megawatts. These were contracted in January. State agencies have issued five additional Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for over 40 additional projects totaling an additional 4 megawatts. Contracts will be signed in March and April and work will begin shortly after. In addition to the state government's solar projects, funds from the Recovery Act will enable a new round of the state's popular solar rebate program. The program will be administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC).
As part of the Governor's recently announced Commonwealth Energy Solutions effort to capture substantial savings from current energy spending, the state is deploying an Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS) for state facilities and is accelerating a pipeline of building energy efficiency projects. A Request for Reponses (RFR) was issued in late December, and a contract for the EEMS will be awarded for the first 20 million square feet of building space in March. Recovery Act funds have already provided the project management with the resources needed to enable the Commonwealth to accelerate a $238 million pipeline of building energy efficiency projects, with several RFPs at various stages of issuance, evaluation, and award. These projects will be financed through a share of the future energy savings generated.
In addition to the state government's energy efficiency projects, the Commonwealth launched a $15 million competitive High Performance Buildings Grant Program for broadly applicable solutions that improve building energy performance. Over 115 proposals were submitted, totaling over $250 million. Awards will be announced in February.
Energy Block Grants
The Commonwealth has also launched several initiatives for local governments: (1) block grants of up to $150,000 for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for municipalities less with populations than 35,000 (communities greater than 35,000 applied directly to USDOE); (2) technical and project management assistance to cities and towns for energy projects; and (3) energy code training for Massachusetts municipal building code officials. Awards for the first two of these initiatives will be announced by the end of February and energy code training will begin this quarter.
Wind Blade Testing Facility
Massachusetts has received $25 Million in ARRA funding to accelerate development of the Wind Technology Testing Center, a joint venture between the National Renewable Energy Lab, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, UMass, MIT and other partners. This center, located in Charlestown, will create hundreds of construction jobs, as well as become an international center for the testing of the next generation of large wind turbine blades. This is the largest facility of its kind in the world. Work began this quarter, with the official groundbreaking ceremony taking place on December 1, and completion is anticipated within one year.
The Department of Environmental Protection -- with the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- has allocated all $185 million of the ARRA Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) money to 111 projects across the state. During the second quarter, MassDEP and the Water Pollution Abatement Trust completed loan agreements for 56 projects totaling over $369 million. The balance of the projects will be reported in the next quarter. The 111 ARRA-subsidized SRF projects reflect $775 million in total construction and engineering activity that will support economic recovery and public health in the Commonwealth, including 45 projects worth more than $220 million that have already broken ground and begun construction. As of December 31, 2009, a total of $445 million in construction contracts had been awarded, and $252 million of contracts were out to bid. Other costs related to ARRA SRF, including 5% construction contingency, resident engineering services, etc., are calculated at approximately $78 million. All told, $775 million is actively stimulating the Massachusetts water infrastructure economy.
Massachusetts will use approximately $3.1 million dollars in stimulus money to fund the remediation of known storage tanks buried underground that are or have been compromised and are leaking petroleum into the environment. In Quarter 2, four projects were initiated at three sites under the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) ARRA program. Two Direct Site Assessments were initiated (Fisherville Mill in Grafton and Quincy Street in Dorchester) and two Direct Cleanups were initiated (Maple Street in Holyoke and Quincy Street in Dorchester). The activities undertaken by MassDEP staff funded by LUST ARRA money involve fiscal, administrative and technical aspects of grant implementation, including grant management, required federal program reporting, contract administration and management, project evaluation and selection, and field oversight. Jobs with our vendors include environmental scientists and engineers, project managers responsible for developing and implementing site work plans, construction and field staff, heavy equipment operators to run backhoes and excavators, laborers, and construction foremen who are responsible for managing construction related site work.
With a Water Quality Management Grant (604b Clean Water), MassDEP is conducting water quality-related pollution assessment activities in priority watersheds including: Cape Cod, Boston Harbor, and Narragansett/Mt. Hope Bay watersheds. Monitoring in FY 2010 will be targeted to the Deerfield, Millers, Ipswich, Buzzards Bay, the Islands, and Shawsheen watersheds. Also, sampling and analysis plans will be developed for the Connecticut, Chicopee, Blackstone, Cape Cod Narragansett/Mt. Hope Bay and Boston Harbor basins. MassDEP sought proposals to fund projects to improve water quality assessment and management, and to identify water quality problems and propose solutions. Eleven projects were selected in Amesbury, Brewster, Cambridge, Duxbury, Marshfield, North Reading, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Provincetown, Sharon, and the Pioneer Valley. These projects have been contracted and the notices to proceed have been issued.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also awarded $85 million from the federal Superfund to clean up hazardous waste at three Massachusetts sites. These funds will clean up New Bedford Harbor, the Hatheway & Patterson site in Mansfield and Foxboro, and Silresim Chemical Corp. site in Lowell. This will ensure that these sites are suitable for future economic development and recreation while removing environmental contamination.
Created January 29, 2010. Information provided by the Recovery & Reinvestment Office.