By Maria Garriga
NEW HAVEN — The City Plan Department has sent details of two proposed wind energy demonstration projects to the Board of Aldermen for consideration.
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund would install and run two turbines to test which of the models would be most effective at generating electricity in the state, said Keith Frame, the associate director of new technologies at CCEF.
The turbine model deemed most effective will be recommended for a state subsidy program to encourage use of alternative energy sources by municipalities, he said.
The turbines would cost about $30,000 each, while monitoring equipment would bring the total project cost to the fund up to $250,000. When complete, the turbines should each shave $5,000 off the city’s annual electricity bill.
The City Plan Commission Wednesday night approved the demonstration project as long as it comes back to it for site plan approval, at which point it could hold a public hearing, if necessary.
Commission alternate Edward Mattison anticipated opposition, depending on where the turbines are sited. "Wherever you want to put it, someone will think it is in the wrong place," Mattison predicted.
Alderman Roland Lemar, D-9, a member of the City Plan Commission, also wanted details on any future maintenance costs.
In an earlier interview, Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale, D- 14, chairwoman of the board’s City Services and Environmental Policy Committee, said she would welcome the sight of a turbine at Long Wharf, one of the sites that would be used for the project.
Drivers on the interchange of Interstates 91 and 95 would catch a glimpse of alternative energy generation in person while people visiting the beach strip will be able to see the turbine up close.
"Long Wharf is a great location because it’s so visible. That strip of land has been so damaged by the highway that it renders the waterfront almost useless, except for a few strollers, it’s not really used. This project sends the right message about where we want to go," Sturgis-Pascale said.
She anticipates the resolution will be passed unanimously. The fund has offered to install the turbines at no cost to the city. While the city would pay for maintenance when the one-year project is over, fund officials say maintenance costs will be minimal to the city.
New Haven officials have pushed alternative energy models of various kinds throughout the city. Several schools have been outfitted with solar energy systems to reduce total power costs, and nearly 1,000 residents have signed up for clean energy options from United Illuminating Co., the highest number in the state out of any municipality among UI and Connecticut Light & Power Co. customers.
The city is also home to a working fuel cell generator at Yale University and uses bio-diesel for some city vehicles. Yale also uses some bio-diesel fuel in some of its shuttles.
Maria Garriga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 789-5726.