A new entity to assist Massachusetts municipal utilities with the development and financing of wind energy resources has been created by the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. (MMWEC) and the Princeton Municipal Light Department – the initial members of the recently incorporated Massachusetts Municipal Light Department Wind Energy Cooperative.
The cooperative's initial task is to obtain financing for an upgrade of the Princeton utility's 23-year-old wind farm in central Massachusetts, according to MMWEC. The $6.5 million upgrade includes the installation of 3 MW of new wind generation at the site, with operation of the project tentatively scheduled for fall 2008.
Additionally, under its bylaws, the co-op can expand its membership to include other municipal utilities or public entities that are developing wind energy resources. The organization will be able to own wind projects outright and purchase power from wind projects owned by other entities for the purpose of selling power to co-op members.
‘There is potential for the co-op to become a significant supplier of wind power to public entities in Massachusetts, but our initial and primary focus is on developing and financing wind energy resources for municipal utilities,’ says Glenn O. Steiger, general manager of MMWEC. ‘Formation of the co-op is a key step in our efforts to diversify and better balance municipal power supplies with the addition of renewable, demand response and energy efficiency resources.’