Sustainability at Mount Wachusett Community College

Turbines Producing 100% of MWCC’s Electricity

Within the first year of adding wind energy to Mount Wachusett Community College’s renewable portfolio, the two 1.65 MW turbines began producing 100 percent of the colleges electricity while also returning energy back to the grid.

The Vestas V82 turbines, activated on March 25, 2011, generated in excess of 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity at the one-year anniversary date, slightly exceeding the 4.97 million kWh annual production anticipated prior to construction and taking into account the first month of intermittent operation during a break-in period. Combined with existing renewable technologies, the turbines have enabled the college to achieve the distinction of near carbon neutrality for campus operations.

“The wind energy project is the crowning achievement in our portfolio of green energy projects. Combined, these renewable technologies provide an invaluable learning tool for the general public as well as students pursuing green careers in our Natural Resources and Energy Management programs,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “The turbines have become a source of pride and a symbol of progress for the college and for the local community.”

The wind energy project, a collaboration between the college and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Administration & Finance, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Department of Energy Resources, is an integral component in the Massachusetts Leading by Example – Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings executive order to achieve statewide goals. The $9 million project is being funded through $3.2 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants, $2.1 million from a low interest Clean Renewable Energy Bond, and $3.7 million from Massachusetts Clean Energy Investment Bonds.

“Community projects like this one not only create jobs and local sources of energy but stabilize energy costs, which traditionally have relied on volatile fossil fuel markets,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “We’re a proud partner in this project because it sets an example of clean energy leadership for the students, residents and businesses of this community.”

During an April 2011 ceremony, the college dedicated the turbines in honor of Congressman John Olver, for his support for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy, and Edward R. Terceiro Jr., MWCC executive vice president emeritus and resident engineer, for his leadership on the project and other campus energy initiatives, and to both for their renewable energy vision.

A charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, MWCC was recognized with environmental awards in 2011 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Second Nature/ACUPCC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for its success in renewable energy and conservation.