Studies of Wind Potential at Municipal Properties

Credit: Erb PhotographyIn 2007, the City partnered with Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) to consider the wind power potential of city-owned properties. After conducting a preliminary wind power study of three potential sites, the MTC offered to further consider Green Hill as a site warranting further study.

Wind Power in Worcester: Siting Considerations for a Wind Turbine
Prepared by: Sally Wright, M.S., P.E.,  Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Prepared for: Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust’s Community Wind Collaborative
Site visit date: 25 April 2007
Report date: 18 May 2007

Credit: Erb PhotographyIn 2008, the City accepted technical assistance from MTC which retained Black & Veatch to perform a “screening-level feasibility study” for a single turbine wind project and to make recommendations regarding data collection and project development. The study found the Green Hill area to have a marginal wind resource and recommended detailed wind monitoring for 12 months to accurately assess the viability of a wind turbine project. The study showed that the financial viability of a wind project in Worcester is questionable, and is heavily dependent on the actual wind resource at the potential project site, the project cost, and the passage of new net metering rules that would allow the City to capture the full retail value of energy produced by a turbine. Small differences in the cost of energy or value of Renewable Energy Credits had significant impacts on the net present value of a project over a 20 year lifetime.

Community Wind Collaborative – City of Worcester; Draft Site Screening Study
Prepared by: Black & Veatch Corporation
Funded by: The Community Wind Collaborative of the Renewable Energy Trust
Report date: May 2008

2009 - 2011: the City installed a Second Wind Triton SODAR unit at the Worcester Technical High School’s property to measure wind speed and direction. SODAR device measures wind speed and direction by taking advantage of the Doppler shift (acoustic waves, or ‘beeps’).

Wind Data Report, Worcester, MA; October 15, 2009 to October 15, 2010
Prepared by: Utama Abdulwahid, James F. Manwell, and Anthony F. Ellis
Prepared for: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Report date: January 2011

In 2012, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) hired Black & Veatch to update the 2008 study by incorporating onsite wind data collected by a SODAR unit. The results of this study showed that there are challenges associated with constructing a single turbine wind project in Worcester. Available land is very limited within city limits, and the land available at the Technical High School is extremely constrained by the lot size and road, property line, and building setbacks. Because of this limited space, the setback restrictions, the urban nature of the area, a relatively low wind resource, and potential safety concerns, construction of a medium or large wind turbine at the Technical High School was not recommended.

Wind Turbine Feasibility Study – City of Worcester
Prepared by: Black and Veatch
Prepared for: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Report date: March 2012