Wind power in Massachusetts
The U.S. state of Massachusetts has vast wind energy resources onshore as well as offshore and the installed capacity has been growing in recent years due to a variety of regulatory actions and financial incentives enacted by the state government. The most recent notable policy includes the 2016 update to the Clean Energy and Climate Plan that the state reduce 1990 baseline greenhouse gas emissions levels by 25% by 2020, and a goal of installing 2,000 MW of wind power in the state by 2020. However in 2016 the state had 119 megawatts (MW) of wind powered electricity generating capacity, responsible for generating 0.7% of in-state electricity production.
Installed in 2005, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 100 kW wind turbine along I93 south of Boston drew attention to wind power to tens of thousands of commuters. In 2009, a similar wind turbine was installed along I93 north of Boston, in Medford, expected to generate 170,000 kWh/year.
A GE Wind Energy 1.5 MW turbine was the first wind turbine to be installed at a ski resort in the United States of America at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA. The turbine, installed in 2007, is visible from many of the slopes on the mountain and it produces 4,600 MWh annually, about one third of the facilities electricity demands.
At the Joint Base Cape Cod three turbines generate power for the base and construction is underway for two additional 1.68 MW turbines to power the radar unit. The three, soon to be five, turbines are highly visible from both the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore Bridge looking to the East. The turbines have resulted in significant savings for the base, the turbines also do not generate any controversy because they are located well within the base boundaries far from civilian homes.
At about 450 MW, the offshore wind farm Cape Wind was the largest wind project under review in the state. It would have provided enough electricity to power nearly 420,000 homes using 130 wind turbines, but was cancelled in 2017 after local opposition.
On August 8, 2016 the Massachusetts governor signed Bill H.4568 which mandated that Massachusetts requires 1.6 GW of offshore wind power by 2027. Policy also mandated that utilities acquire 1.2 GW of power from other renewable sources, including onshore wind. The 1 GW Bay State Wind is one of several planned offshore sites.
Current state support
The state has implemented policy and infrastructure to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These policies and infrastructure are partially focused on promoting on- and off-shore wind power.
Green Communities Act (2008): created a commission to provide technical and financial support to reduce energy costs, strengthen local economies, and support renewable energy efforts.
Green Jobs Act (2008): created the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), which is a state authority designated for “job development and economic development in the clean energy sector.” The Act created the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund to further this economic development.
Global Warming Solutions Act (2008): requires reduction in 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels to 25% by 2020, and at least an 80% reduction by 2050. Policy information and figures depicting state progress can be viewed on the Mass.gov website.
New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal
The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal is the first hub in the country designed for the deployment of offshore wind farms. The terminal is managed by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center which supports the fabrication and implementation of offshore wind projects and the transportation of large scale marine cargo. The Terminal contains 26 acres of storage space that can be used by businesses and to aid shipping and transportation. It has access roads to two highways, I-495 and I-95, and is accessible from other ports.
Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC)
The Massachusetts Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown is managed by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The center offers testing for blades up to 90 meters long and different prototyping methods in order to support the production and installation of land and offshore wind turbines. The blade testing is required for turbines to meet international qualifications and to be certified for use.
In early 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released the first comprehensive update of wind energy potential by state since 1993, showing that Massachusetts had potential to install 1,028 MW of onshore wind power, using 80 meter high wind turbines, and 1,913 MW of 100 MW wind turbines could achieve 30% or better capacity factor - and of those, almost 500 MW could reach a capacity factor of 40%.
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) contracted Navigant Consulting to determine new locations of potential wind turbine sites throughout the state. The study identified 44 locations with 947 MW of potential power. The locations are centrally focused in the Berkshire and Barnstable counties. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has this information publicly available with a Wind Energy Site Screening Tool.
The Massachusetts state government regulatory actions and financial incentives in the energy sector extend to wind energy policy. In May 2017, the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act or the Offshore WIND Act (S.1102) was introduced in the Senate. The bill proposes to add a tax credit for investments in property with “qualified offshore wind properties.” According to Congressional terminology, facilities are determined qualified if they use wind power to produce electricity and located in United States navigable waters. In order to obtain the tax credit, wind property construction would need to occur before January 1, 2026. As of October 2017, the Bill has not been passed.
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- Medford readies wind turbine at site along I-93
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- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (2010-03-05). "U.S. Installed Wind Capacity and Wind Project Locations". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (2010-02-04). "Installed Wind Capacity by State". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010-02-04). "State wind energy potential (2010)". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
- "WINDExchange: Massachusetts Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity".
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- "Wind Energy Site Screening Tool".
- "Offshore Wind Act".
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