Wind energy at Cape Cod to save $1 million a year

  • Published
  • By Amy Ausley
  • Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency
The wind in Cape Cod, Mass., is about to be called into action once again to reduce energy costs and air pollution at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

Air Force Space Command is preparing to install two 1.6 megawatt utility-scale wind turbines at the station' s early warning radar site, called PAVE Phased Array Warning System.

The Cape Cod Air Force Station, located at the MMR, has some of the best wind resources on the property, according to the Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Lab.

Cape Cod AFS has some of the highest electricity costs in the Air Force at $0.133 per kWh and uses about 13,000 MWh a year. The two turbines will offset more than 50 percent of the station' s annual electrical purchases. The economic benefit is expected to be $1 million per year.

"The wind turbine project will help the Air Force meet its renewable energy goal of 25 percent by 2025," said Fox Theriault, AFSPC energy analyst and project manager. "The Air Force will get double credit for building a renewable energy project on the Air Force portion of the site and using the power in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005."

In addition to saving money, the turbines will also help reduce pollution. Electricity for the area is usually produced by conventional fossil fuel power plants, which generate air pollution. Each wind turbine will reduce air emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons of combined sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide annually.

The project was funded from the fiscal 2012 Energy Conservation Investment Program and is expected to pay for itself within 12 years. That means the Air Force will receive free energy for the remainder of the 20- to 25-year life span of the turbines.

The two new wind turbines join three others already in place at the MMR, which are being used to power environmental remediation efforts.

The MMR is a military training facility located on the upper western portion of Cape Cod. It covers about 22,000 acres or approximately 30 square miles. The facility is used by various agencies including the Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard.