Mass. College Ready For Wind Power

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) in Gardner, Massachusetts is come one step closer to having a partially wind-powered campus. The National Grid utility company conducted a witness test on the college’s two turbines, reviewing all circuitry, electrical connections and mechanisms to see that they operate correctly. At one point during the testing, both two turbines were running and the south turbine was show to be generating 1 megawatt of power.

MWCC’s purchase of two Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines was made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Energy. Once fully operational, the turbines are expected to save the college around $700,000 each year on utility costs. Although several students and facility have been a part of the installation process, Vestas, a company out of Denmark, will handle most of the maintenance of the turbines.

Image via MWCC

The second of the turbines was built in December of last year, but the project is not expected to be online until after National Grid has time to review the data of the witness test. Winds that day ranged from 11 miles per hour to 34 mph gusts, hopefully providing good numbers for the team to evaluate. Although both turbines can, and will, run congruently, they will operate one at a time during their initial launch.

MWCC has been involved in green technology upgrades for years now, first installing a small biomass plant for on-campus heating in 2002, followed by starting a 100 kilowatt solar panel project that was eventually completed in 2010. The college’s clean energy advancements are expected to save nearly $4 million over the next eight years.

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Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.

    • If all the schools would do this would be sooo cool. Wind energy is definitely a very important energy source in the future.