Community Wind in the Wall Street Journal

June 23, 2008 - 8:49am -- Anonymous

"You can feel the flow of benefits," Malcolm Bridge says, adding that private wind-farm developers might have more success if they found ways to allow local residents to invest in their ventures.

The previous quote was taken from today’s Wall Street Journal article ("Winds Shift in Energy Debate")about wind energy. The focus of the article is one particular community in Massachusetts. Hull, located just southeast of the Boston area, is currently home to a 660kW wind turbine and a 1.65MW turbine. According to the article, in 1985 a small wind turbine was constructed at the school and throughout its lifetime the turbine saved the community around $70,000 – that is until the turbine was destroyed in a storm in 1997. Shortly thereafter members of the community began to organize to construct a new larger turbine. After the first turbine was built the community organized to have a second turbine built and is now considering off-shore development. If the project goes ahead it would be the first off-shore wind project in the United States.

One particularly interesting aspect of the article is the focus on how community involvement changes the project dynamic. One resident named Susan Ovans described that opposition to the projects were minimal because of the involvement of local residents in the decision-making process. To quote the Wall Street Journal, "the town's embrace of wind power reflects how local control and tangible economic benefit can diffuse such tensions and lead to broad acceptance of alternative energy sources."

-Christopher Bassett, Summer Intern 2008