The Town of Ipswich is one of ten municipalities in Massachusetts invested in Berkshire Wind, an array of 10 wind turbines atop Brodie Mountain in the Berkshires. Two adjacent turbines were added in Phase 2 this summer bringing the wind farm’s generating capacity to 19.6 megawatts and making it the state’s second largest wind farm. Improvements in blade technology allowed the new turbines to generate power at lower wind speeds, each producing 2.3 megawatts of power.
The electricity generated by the wind farm’s dozen wind turbines is estimated to be sufficient for almost 9000 homes. Ipswich has a 6.4% investment in Phase 1, an array of 10 turbines each producing 1.5 megawatts, and nearly 20% in the second phase, joining Boylston, Chicopee, Hull, Marblehead, Peabody, Russell, Sterling, Wakefield and West Boylston.
The Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative became fully operational in 2011 and is facilitated through the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), a nonprofit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, created by an Act of the General Assembly in 1975.
The Town of Ipswich Electric Department has a diverse energy portfolio, with an estimated 56% of its electricity coming from carbon-free generation. In addition to the partial ownership shares in the Berkshire Wind Farm, the town has two turbines on Town Farm Road (one no longer operating) producing 16 and 20 megawatts of power, a solar array on the roof of the Town Hall, and also receives power from the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station, Millstone Nuclear Power Station, as well as a series of hydro projects throughout New England. Diesel generators at the Town plant on High Street are available for emergency use only. Residential and commercial customers can generate their own electricity through the town’s Distributed Generation Policy.
Sources and further reading:
- Energy Central
- Berkshire Wind Power Coop Fact Sheet
- Salem News
- Berkshire Eagle
- Town of Ipswich electrical generation page (not updated)
- Chronology of Ipswich Public Works: Telegraph, Telephone, Gas, Water, Electricity, Trash, Sewer,Wind and Solar