Science and Technology News

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cape Cod wind turbines bring big savings

by Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

10/9/2012 - CAPE COD AIR FORCE STATION, Mass. -- Change is blowing into Cape Cod Air Force Station as two new wind turbines are installed at the 6th Space Warning Squadron, saving an estimated $1 million a year in energy costs.

According to Steve Mellin, 6th SWS support officer, the installation of the wind turbines will put Cape Cod AFS in line with the Air Force's goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.

"Where we're stationed here on the Massachusetts seashore, there is extremely high potential to generate wind energy. We're in one of the better spots on the east coast to take advantage of the wind energy," he said.

Two other organizations on the Massachusetts Military Reservation, which hosts the 6th SWS, use wind energy. The new turbines, numbers four and five on the MMR, will be used to power the PAVE Phased Array Warning System, Mellin said.

The turbines are expected to cut the station's energy cost by 50 percent.

The project is being funded by the Fiscal Year 12 Energy Conservation Investment Program and is expected to pay for itself within 12 years, according to the Air Force Facility Energy Center. The Air Force will receive free energy for the remainder of the 20- to 25-year life of the turbines.

In addition to saving money, the turbines will also reduce air pollution. Each turbine will reduce air emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide annually according to AFCESA.

"It will cut down the greenhouse gases and not burn so much oil to generate power," Mellin said.

Another benefit to the location of the wind turbines is they will not be disruptive of any residential areas.

"We aren't in an area where we have residential houses close," Mellin said. "In fact, one of the closest houses to the turbines is my personal house, and we don't see the turbines, we don't hear them, we don't get any of the (reflection) off the blades."

The project is expected to be complete by November 2013.

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