The city is eyeing the possibility of erecting two 100-foot towers topped with wind turbines in a bid to save thousands of dollars annually by producing green electricity.
Officials are looking at three potential locations for the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund turbines they hope to get for free: atop Bristol Central High School, Chippens Hill Middle School or the new water tank on Witches Rock Road.
City Purchasing Agent Roger Rousseau said the sites were picked because they offer the highest average wind speeds in town.
If the city is selected for the demonstration project, the turbines would be used for a year to gather information that could be useful for installing other wind energy towers across the state. After that, Bristol would take them over, paying $1,000 annually for maintenance and gaining the benefit of whatever electricity is produced.
City councilors this week endorsed the effort to get the turbines. It’s not clear how likely it is that Bristol will win out in the competition for them, particularly given that Litchfield County has more wind.
According to Rousseau, the state’s clean energy fund already has picked two locations on the shore for similar turbines, in Stonington and New Haven.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski said that if the city is successful, it will have to talk to neighbors in the areas eyed for the two turbines that would be installed.
Another councilor, Cliff Block, said there is some risk to the city because it’s possible the towers won’t bring in enough power to cover the cost of running the turbines.
Rousseau said that the theory is that the turbines will be profitable for the city, though it won’t be known how beneficial they are until they are operating.
The small wind turbines would sit atop towers, Rousseau said.
Rousseau said he doesn’t know who else is interested, but believes that Bristol would be lucky to get chosen.
“We can get long-term benefits from clean energy,” Rousseau said, particularly if the program could be tied in with the education students receive at the two schools.
The turbines are expected to last about20 years.
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