Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wind Turbines on Brody Mountain, Hancock

Brody Mountain wind turbines from the Jones Nose Trail on Mount Greylock.
So, what's the story with all those wind turbines on Brody Mountain?

The 10 turbines are part of the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation's (BWPCC) Berkshire Wind Power Project, online since 2011. At that time it was the largest wind farm in Massachusetts. Now there is a larger 19-turbine project, Hoosac Wind, in Florida, Massachusetts. On a recent hike on Mount Greylock trails, both projects, plus the smaller turbine at Jiminy Peak, were prominent at various viewpoints.

BWPCC is made up of 14 municipal utilities, none of which are in the Berkshires. According to the their website, Brodie's ridge top is one of the best inland wind sites in Massachusetts. The turbines are expected to operate at capacity about 40 percent of the time (when wind speeds allow) and generate enough power for 6,000 homes. They will offset the production of nearly 612,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and the use of 1.7 million barrels of oil over the life of the turbines.

That sounds good, right? However, opponents have complained about the impact on the environment, birds, animals, and tourism, and noise pollution. The Berkshire Natural Resources Council, in a position statement on their website, says, "there must be a consistent policy regarding wind power facilities that establishes standards for site selection, environmental review, and stewardship." We must continue to find ways to minimize the "costs" of whatever energy resources we develop.

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