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Blandford Plaza 7JAN10 The Patrick-Murray Administration and MassDOT have approved installation of a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine on state-owned land adjacent to the MassDOT Blandford Service Area, left, in western Massachusetts. Solaya Renewable Energy of Woburn will construct the nearly 400-foot-tall turbine along with a kiosk at the Service Area to provide motorists information about the highly-visible turbine and its operation.

The turbine will produce up to 3,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough clean energy to power approximately 400 households.  Electricity generated will be sold to a retail electricity provider.

The project is expected to break ground later this year and is subject to local zoning and environmental permitting and other regulatory requirements.  A lease agreement calls for Solaya to pay rent to MassDOT equal to 3.5 percent of annual power sales, which is expected to total approximately $16,600 the first year of operations and increase over time.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and MassDOT’s Highway Division last year began investigating wind power potential at the Blandford Service Area as part of a “Greening the Turnpike” initiative to develop the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy.  The Hampden County location for the wind turbine is the highest elevation along I-90.

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