Land-Based Wind Power

Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) are governed by a zoning bylaw  as detailed in Chapter § 139-21 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket.  Residential wind turbines are permitted in all residential zoning districts.  Commercial wind turbines may be sited in specified zones.

Bartlett Farm Wind Turbine

The wind turbine at Bartlett's Farm became operational in March 2009.  This 250kW WES turbine starts operating at a wind speed of about 6 mph and ceases operation at wind speeds of 56 mph.  The turbine is able to provided the farm with roughly 80 percent of its electrical power.

In January 2010, one of the turbine’s 40-foot-long blades broke in half.  No one was hurt, but the machine was not operational again until October 2011.  Since that time, there have been no reported issues. 

Nantucket High School Wind Turbine
Nantucket High School Wind Turbine

The 100kW Northern Power wind turbine at the Nantucket high school became operational in the fall of 2010.   In FY12, the turbine produced about 13 percent of the school's energy which generated almost $35,000 in savings.   It's  current status may be observed real-time

Off Shore Wind

In 2013, the Federal government plans to lease a large area of the ocean south of Nantucket to commercial producers of off-shore wind energy.  The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, stated in February that the government will hold the first-ever auctions for commercial development of this area of the Atlantic Ocean in 2013.  The Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM) held a public hearing on Nantucket on November 15, 2012 to discuss the results of their environmental assessment, in which impacts were expected to be minimal.  The Cape Cod Times estimated selected wind energy developers would have until about the end of 2018 to submit plans and potentially an additional 20 years to produce power from the site.

Cape Wind
Cape Wind is America's first fully permitted off shore wind farm.  It is proposed in a 24 square mile area of Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound (about 14 miles north of Nantucket).  The proposed capacity of the project is 468 megawatts via 130 turbines, which would supply on average 75 percent of the Cape and Islands electricity needs.  Cape Wind holds  a federal lease of the area, of which 23 percent of the revenue generated is returned to the state of MA. In the past twelve years, the project has worked its way through a complex and time consuming  environmental review through federal, state and local agencies.  The company is currently arranging financing and has sold 77.5 percent of its power through power purchase agreements with National Grid and NSTAR.  Cape Wind expects to jump start an offshore wind industry in Massachusetts and provide 1,000 construction jobs and 150 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. In March of 2013, the City of New Bedford announced it  is building a marine terminal for staging and loading vessels for the construction of off shore wind farms, and Cape Wind will be its first customer.