The Turbine Now That It’s Up Poll

When I first heard of the turbine coming to Gloucester I was angry.   I felt as though it was only going to benefit one company, the company that was installing it and the money to pay for it was money that taxpayers subsidized and that most of these green energy projects are simply advertising vehicles reaching out to liberal tree-huggers who would buy any thing at any cost as long as you slapped the  “It’s Green” sticker on it.

I let our Ed Collard and Sarah Kelly take opposing editorial views in a post before hand and I was still skeptical. View That Post Here-

Anti Windmill vs Pro Windmill Two GMG Contributors Express Their Views- Sarah Kelly and Ed Collard

Then I read Mayor Kirk’s editorial in the Gloucester Daily Times in which she stated that the City of Gloucester would “conservatively” have 90% of it’s energy needs paid for by the partnership and that number would be conservatively $450,000 per year.

Read that post here-

Chickity Check It! Matyor Kirk Says City Will Conservatively Save $450,000 Per Year In Energy Costs

Posted on October 14, 2012 by 

With that huge savings for the taxpayers of Gloucester my mind was changed.  Now with the Varian one erected, looking at it doesn’t bother me at all.  I mean not in the least.  I actually think it looks kinda cool.

Now if we look back a year from when the thing kicks off and see that the City only gets a tiny fraction of what it think’s it’s going to get I will be supremely pissed and feel duped and I’ll rail against every phoney baloney green energy claim that comes down the pike but I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that we will indeed provide those savings.

Now that the Turbine is up and you can see what it looks like on the horizon and you know what we know about the projected savings would you say that the turbines at Varian and Gloucester Engineering are a good thing or not?

Please vote in the new poll-

On our last poll in which we asked if the City of Gloucester would get more or less that $450K in Energy Savings over two thirds of voters chose under.

I’m more optimistic and I hope Mayor Kirk  once the energy audit from the first year comes out gets to say  “IN YOUR FACE!” to all the doubters and we get well over $450,000 per year in energy savings.


  • Hope I’m totally wrong on this one, Joey. I really do. The biggest issue might turn out to be that this industrial turbine, and the other two ones soon to be installed, are sited too close to homes. I’m hoping that this won’t be an issue for the residents living within a half-mile with shadow flicker, ice throw (which is rare) and low-frequency emissions. As far as the potential savings, it’s a credit-per-kilowatt hour that the turbines generate, and as far as I understand, it’s a credit provided by National Grid, which is a government subsidized (taxpayer funded) credit. So it’s not really savings in the sense that the electricity generated is less expensive. It’s just more subsidized. But again, I hope this works out for the City of Gloucester in a big way.


    • You’re right, the credits skew the economics. But there’s another consideration besides the energy, the capacity.

      Now that everyone has seen the size of this thing, imagine what it would take to replace one Salem Harbor Station with this kind of windmill:

      750MW / 2.5MW per windmill = 300 windmills, that’s at full wind 24 hours a day. At half wind/output, you would need 600 of these giants. But wait, that’s not right either because sometimes the wind falls too low to generate, or is too strong to allow the windmill to operate, so you still need conventional generations plants available to pick up the slack.

      I saw someone comment that you could simply draw on existing plants that were online should the wind shut down, but that’s not true, unless there was enough “space” on those existing plants to allow them to pick up additional load. If they are already fully loaded, they can’t do any more.

      If you want conventional plants sitting available to pick up this slack, someone has to pay for that.


    • I hope so too. If the numbers don’t work out I’ll be none too pleased. But visually what I thought I’d really hate to see doesn’t bother me at all I hope the families that live around it feel the same way, their view on the matter is more important than mine.


      • It definitely tends to be a “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing. I personally don’t like to look at them because, unlike non-utility scale rooftop turbines, the giant industrial turbines represent government waste and corporate profiteering off the backs of the taxpayers. People who think they are pretty because the symbolize green energy generally don’t know anything about how energy actually works. But that said, it was pretty cool to watch it go up. Even I can admit that. 😉


  • I work at Varian and hope I’m just confused about all the energy credit articles but I seem to think that the city will not benefit from the Varian turbine as 99% of the output is expected to go to power Varian. The two turbines about to go up at Gloucester Engineering were the ones in the article for which the city is to benefit. Am I wrong?


  • I am proud to see the windmill as you come up the 128 extension. It puts our city in a good light. I was surprised to discover so many other places around the country beat us to it, but now we are in the race, too!


  • I love it. I see it right out our window. It’s been a blast watching it go up with my son. As for shadow flicker, look at a map. From what I can tell the shadow would mostly fall on Dogtown. And the closest homes seem to be across 128, which produces plenty of offsetting noise. Sure, there could be some minor problems, but overall I consider it a win for Gloucester. If you want to turn me into a cartoon, I guess I’m a tree hugger. But more importantly I’m concerned about America’s (my children’s) long term energy needs. This is a step in the right direction. Common sense tells me drilling and blowing up mountains to get at the “clean coal” isn’t going to work for us forever. And don’t get me started on the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan.

    But I really do love this majestic wind turbine sitting on an adjacent hill. It’s lovely.


  • My kids and I have visited the turbine a few times now and they’re excited by its progress. They got to sign the blade, too, which makes them feel like they have a small role in it. On the way to school every day they crane their necks and excitedly look for the turbine. So I think it’s a positive thing that many of us are excited about and talking about alternative energy in action. It’s a small step for sure. But I’m an optimist who believes that my kids and their generation will one day rely routinely on non-coal sources of energy. And for them it will have started with one wind turbine at Varian in Gloucester in November 2012.


  • Firstly, I am for these turbines. Secondly, to S D Kelly and all, of course I am concerned about the proximity to homes and there should be oversight and proper info gathering. But let’s not limit our concerns to the residences. What I mean is can I be the only who spends more time at work than I do at home?


    • Hi Bob, I spend more awake time at work than at home, probably like you. When the wind turbines are cranking, I’ll finally take my tour of Ryan & Wood, and hear what’s going on in your distillery from the turbines.


  • Joey, Thanks for raising this again. It’s such an important issue. You are a role model in that we all need to be open-minded and to be willing to change our minds about things. As our country moves towards alternative energy sources, it should be assumed that mistakes will be made. I am very skeptical of projections also. It’s very typical for a business/agency to utilize “ideal factors” in making these projections, and that is why they often fall short.

    However, even if the numbers don’t fully reach the predictions, the fact that we are, as a community, trying to move forward and take chances on new ways to address energy issues, makes me optimistic about the future. There is always risk in new ventures. But that is how progress happens. Inch by inch sometimes.

    I am interested in knowing if the noise factor is still an issue, and if people are being negatively affected by it. I’m also worried about the birds. But I’m glad we are trying it. And I actually think it looks beautiful. But I don’t live right next to it. So I hope people that are very close by to it, give their input. Is the sound bothering your family? I don’t hear it at all, but I wonder if it is really noisy for those in the surrounding area. I haven’t heard anything.

    p.s. We “tree hugger types” aren’t necessarily as stupid as you may think we are! xoxoxo


    • Terry, The Varian/Applied Materials Wind Turbines are not operating yet. Neither is the Gloucester Engineering turbine. Our only impact now is visual, not sound, from the single erected Varian windmill. But on the Varian/Applied Materials website, they stated that the sound of their 460′ wind turbines for neighbors would be no more the “a leaf landing on the ground.” Before all the fall leaves have fallen, let’s go out and video/sound record a falling leaf. I’ve never actually heard that specific sound, but my friend Bob Rubin said: “Yeah, it’s the sound of a falling TABLE LEAF.” I hope not.


    • Your point about progress being incremental, sometimes with difficulties, is well made. And our current approach to energy is problematic, to say the least. Hopefully these turbines, when all three are installed, will live up to expectations. And I’m basing my assessment on whether or not these industrial machines are sited too close to homes (or workers who live at their jobs, as Bob Ryan points out) on international standards, which indicate industrial turbines shouldn’t be sited closer than 1/2 mile to residences due, not so much to noise as to low-frequency emissions, which have far more subtle and damaging effects. The turbine hasn’t been turned on yet, but after it starts hopefully those who are close to the project site will weigh in on whether or not it’s a problem for them.


      • Thanks, nice picture of the situation. I’m sure GMG authors will be all over the imptaced neighborhoods, talking to the residents and experiencing the windmill noises themselves.


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