This story is courtesy of George Brennan and the Cape Cod Times. A link to the original story can be found here.
Camp Edwards, Mass. — Rose Forbes, the woman who spearheaded a wind turbine project for the Air Force, said recently it made little sense for the base to clean up groundwater using energy that fouled the air through fossil-fuel emissions.
Yesterday, federal, state, local and military officials gathered to celebrate her vision.
More than 200 people huddled under a tent at the base of the 389-foot turbine as the wind whipped outside. They were invited to celebrate the completion of the $4.6 million, 1.5-megawatt turbine and a milestone in the massive cleanup of pollution at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.
"The Air Force can now say all environmental cleanup decisions and remedies are now in place," said Doug Karson, a spokesman for the Air Force Center of Engineering and the Environment and yesterday's master of ceremonies.
The last two decisions on how to treat two chemical spills were signed within the past few weeks, Karson said.
"Today is the culmination of a long and, at times, arduous saga," U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., said. There were times when it was difficult to see the "end of the cleanup tunnel," he said.
The end is still several decades away, but the wind turbine is expected to make the effort less expensive.
The Air Force expects its turbine to generate 30 percent of the electricity needed to operate the water treatment plants on the base, a savings of about $600,000.
It is located outside one of the nine treatment systems that pump and treat 15 million gallons of water polluted by training and weapons testing on the Upper Cape base.
Several speakers, including Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, noted the role community activists played in holding the military accountable for pollution. The community was angry and distrustful of the military, Delahunt said.
They and other speakers pointed out that the wind turbine represents the change that's taken place at the base over the past three decades.
"This one turbine represents just the beginning of (Massachusetts Military Reservation's) energy independence," Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, said.
The Guard has filed plans to add as many as 17 wind turbines on the 22,000-acre base and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to make sure they won't interfere with the base airfield.
"We will not only have the greenest cleanup," Delahunt said, "but we are setting this base up to be the first energy-independent military installation in the United States."
With all the parts finally in place, the Air Force is eager to take its new wind turbine for a spin but has to finalize some agreements with NStar and finish some electrical work before flipping the switch, Forbes said.
That could happen any day, she said.
The turbine stands as a testament to the state's commitment to alternative-energy sources and to eliminating roadblocks to getting them built, Ian Bowles, secretary of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said.
"It's a symbol of clean energy," he said.