Director of Agricultural Technical Assistance, Department of Agricultural Resources
Beyond the sandy shoreline of Lucy Vincent Beach on Martha’s Vineyard lies Allen Farm, one of the island’s oldest working farms (1762). Today it is one of a growing number of successful small-scale and diversified farming enterprises across the Commonwealth.
Owners Clarissa and Mitchell have long been at the forefront of sustainable technologies. In 1977 they erected an early Enertec wind turbine as one of the first “modern” windmills on the island. DAR’s Renewable Energy Program Coordinator Gerry Palano has been working with Clarissa and Mitchell to help them achieve their ultimate goal: installing a wind turbine or turbines on the property to power electrical loads at their farm, maybe even multiple others across Martha’s Vineyard and eligible mainland farms via net metering. To this end, a meteorological (MET) tower was recently installed to measure wind direction and speeds as part of a feasibility study being performed by local islander Brian Nelson of Nelson Mechanical.
The next steps include an electrical analysis, transportation studies for turbine and crane movements, an environmental overview, and formal FAA application. The Allen Farm will also begin the process of identifying farm partners with substantial electrical loads that will be the recipients of the farm’s wind turbine electricity.
For more information about the wind turbine project at Allen Farm, contact Gerry.Palano@state.ma.us. Of note: 30 acres of this almost 100-acre farm are permanently preserved under DAR’s Agriculture Preservation Restriction program.
Banking on Residential Solar Power posted on Sep 16
“It’s a house, it’s a car, it’s a … solar panel?” In the coming months, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is hoping a new residential solar loan program will spark that question and interest in renewable power at local lending institutions across the Commonwealth. …Continue Reading Banking on Residential Solar Power
Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything posted on Sep 5
The American Council for Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) selected me to present a paper on the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program at ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. It felt like going to college – the seniors all knew each other, while the freshmen were …Continue Reading Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything
Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation posted on Aug 28
Until recently, there was no way to easily figure energy efficiency into a home buying decision. Enter HomeMPG, a Massachusetts energy-saving initiative to pilot an energy performance score (EPS) in residential homes. This “asset” rating that’s analogous to a car’s MPG rating. Behavior is taken out of the equation so that any home’s energy use can be compared to any other home, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.