Aquinnah Flips Ceremonial Switch on First Town Solar Array

At exactly 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a beam of sunshine peeked out from behind a cloud to envelop a treeless hill in Aquinnah in golden light. A small crowd, bundled up against the 15-degree chill, had gathered at the town landfill, but at the morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for Aquinnah’s first-ever solar array project, the sun was the guest of honor.

“This is really a great occasion for all of us to be here today,” Aquinnah town administrator Adam Wilson told the onlookers, shortly before selectman Jim Newman snipped the official red ribbon.

Commission Approves Wind Energy Plan

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week approved a wind energy plan that will regulate wind turbine development on Island land and waters.

The commission will use the plan as guidance when reviewing turbines. The commission plans to review the plan again in five years, though members emphasized that the plan could be changed at any time.

Energy Choice

Don Ogden is correct in response to my letter when he wrote that conservation would “go much toward reducing CO2 emissions.”

Shades of Gray in Energy Production

While searching the depths of the sea floor for marine life, Jesse Ausubel realized something else. Out of the sea floor sediments leaked methane, a natural gas, which mussels, tube worms and other creatures thrived on.

“These animals were living off what we call methane seeps,” said Mr. Ausubel. “That was one clue that methane is more abundant under the sea floor than we had believed.”

Conserving Energy

A note to Gazette readers and letter writer Larry Lewis. If more attention was given to energy conservation and efficiency in this wasteful society we live in, the need for problematical wind turbines would be lessened. Coincidentally, saving energy rather than making even more, will go much toward reducing CO2 emissions and addressing the climate crisis. A major contributor to climate change is the epidemic of carelessness, especially in the United States, regarding the use of energy already being generated.

New Energy at Morning Glory: Turbine Ready, Farmstand Firing

The Island’s largest wind turbine to date went up this past week at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. The 50-kilowatt wind turbine sits atop a 120-foot galvanized steel tower.

The project began as an idea three years ago, and on Thursday it took a single day to bring the huge pieces together and assemble it. The turbine now appears high above the landscape to drivers headed out of Edgartown on the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.

Wastewater Facility Noted for Energy Management

The Edgartown Wastewater Facility has been named the recipient of the New England Water Environment Association’s 2011 Energy Management Achievement Award for its efforts to reduce energy use in the treatment of wastewater.

Facilities manager Joe Alosso has utilized more than $300,000 in state and federal grants to fund cost-saving improvements at the treatment plant.

Turbine Goes Up, Electric Bill Down at Allen Farm in Chilmark

Five years ago Mitchell Posin and Clarissa Allen had a vision: of sheep grazing under a windmill that powered their Chilmark farm. It was a vision of a working farm functioning with clean energy, from the grass the sheep ate to the compost tea they helped produce to the wind that spun the turbine.

On Monday morning that vision became reality when a 149-foot turbine was installed at the farm, the largest turbine to date on the Island.

Once it is fully operational, the windmill will produce 125,000 kilowatt hours per year.

Spread Sunshine on Farms Not Panels

The following letter was sent to the Edgartown selectmen:

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, founded in 1859, has had as its mission these many years to improve breeds, promote agriculture and educate in the “mechanic and domestic arts.” We currently have over 1,200 dues-paying members, many of whom are Edgartown citizens, and our affairs are administered by a 16-member board of trustees. At our meeting on Jan. 12 the board unanimously voted to instruct me to send this letter to you.

Wind Energy Meeting

The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) are holding a public information meeting in New Bedford today, July 17, about proposed offshore wind energy projects in the Massachusetts-Rhode Island wind energy area.

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