What is the driving idea behind this project?
The purpose of this project is to create a renewable energy addition to the power supply, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating economic development. This mission is consistent with the energy and economic goals of municipal utilities, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the nation as a whole.
Is this the same Berkshire Wind Power Project that has been under development for over a decade?
Yes. Planning for the project began in 1998, guided by a private wind developer. The Berkshire Wind Power Project has been under completely new ownership and management since 2008, when the project assets were purchased by the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation. Project plans have been adjusted to reflect the changing conditions over the past decade. Between 1998 and 2008, much of the permitting process was completed and easement agreements were reached with landowners. Since then, the Cooperative has purchased and completed construction of the project.
How much “greener” is this energy facility going to be than other more traditional forms of electricity production?
This project will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would have been created if the electricity was produced in a nonrenewable manner. Over the life of the turbines, which is at least 20 years, operation of the Berkshire Wind Power Project will offset over 612,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) production and the use of 1.7 million barrels of oil.
How will this project impact the local communities where the project is located?
There are numerous ways in which the communities will benefit, including, but certainly not limited to, the recognition of hosting the state’s first commercial-scale wind farm. More directly, the community is benefiting from payments in lieu of taxes from the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative to the towns of Hancock and Lanesboro, where project property is located.