EEA Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
In March of 2011, several trucks drove slowly through Ipswich carrying components for a wind energy turbine. The road was flanked with people of all ages, cheering and applauding the next chapter of Ipswich’s clean energy revolution. Tim Henry, Ipswich’s Director of utilities, said it best: “If you don’t participate in these (alternative energy) projects, you’re buying energy from either oil- or gas-fired (power) plants.”
Just weeks later, the turbine was installed and online and Ipswich was one large step closer to its bright clean energy future, free from foreign fossil fuels that create significant environmental and public health problems. The town will now benefit from the fixed electricity costs this wind energy project will provide.
Ipswich’s new 1.6 MW General Electric turbine will be the largest wind energy turbine in the North Shore, and will provide enough electricity to supply 500 homes, and provide approximately 3 percent of the town’s electricity over the 20-year life of the turbine. The project is a $4.2 million dollar collaboration between Ipswich public schools and the town utility, where the town will pay $2.6 million and the schools will cover $1.7 million of the total cost and maintenance. Also closely involved in the project was the Ipswich Citizens Advocating Renewable Energy (ICARE), a grass roots organization that advocates renewable energy.
New England is heavily dependent on natural gas, which is prone to significant price volatility. The town’s four school buildings spend approximately $320,000 dollars annually on electricity, and estimate over $620,000 dollars in savings over the life of this project. Ipswich also has a 6.4 percent share in the 15 MW Berkshire Wind project in Hancock, Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s first commercial scale wind energy project and its largest wind energy project to date.
Ipswich’s new turbine is the latest chapter in the town’s long tradition of environmental stewardship and a great example of leadership and vision at the local level that is driving the remarkable growth in one of the world’s most vibrant clean energy markets: Massachusetts. This turbine will be the Commonwealth’s 40th – four years ago, there were only three turbines installed statewide.
Recent news stories on the project.