Eco-Reps visit local wind turbine

Last Monday, the Tufts Eco-Reps (along with a few Eco-Ambassadors and staff members who graciously offered to give us a ride) took a field trip to the wind turbine site at McGlynn Middle School in Medford… a mere three miles from the Tufts campus! If you’ve ever driven down I-93 or the Mystic Valley Parkway, it’s hard to miss the towering 150-foot-high structure next to the Mystic River. The renewable energy icon was officially unveiled back in January 2009 but has already generated upwards of 250,000 kWh of energy since it became operational 3 years ago.

Tufts students and staff members visit Medford wind turbine site at McGlynn Middle School

Northern Power Systems, the electrical engineering company that built and manages the turbine, provides real-time data of the turbine’s total energy production, saved energy costs, and even the current rotor speed! Our hosts, Carey Duques, Director of Energy and Environment for the City of Medford, and Alicia Hunt, Medford Energy Efficiency Coordinator, explained thatteachers at McGlynn Middle School have incorporated hands-on lessons from the turbine into their classroom curriculum in order to teach students the benefits of community wind. Although the project faced opposition from those fearing it would be an eyesore, a Medford clean-energy committee worked on the project for three years and was able to raise nearly $650,000 in grant money to pay for the turbine. The project has a payback period of 5-7 years with a carbon emissions offset of 133 tons per year. Read the case study about this exciting innovation in renewable energy in our very own community.

On a national level, there is good news from the US Department of Energy (DOE) – last week, the Obama Administration announced an agreement to streamline offshore wind development in the Great Lakes. The DOE also awarded more than $5 million for advanced fuel cell research and $10 million for promoting zero-emission vehicles.

If you are interested in exploring more topics related to energy, The 2012 Tufts Energy Conference is being held on campus next week from April 20-21. Register here. We hope to see you at Cabot Center next week!

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