The Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corp. (BWPCC), owner of the 10-turbine, 15 MW Berkshire Wind Power Project in Hancock, Mass., has announced phase two of the facility.
Located atop Brodie Mountain, the project’s second phase will include the construction of two new wind turbines, bringing the site’s generating capacity to 19.6 MW.
Plans include the installation of two 2.3 MW turbines adjacent to the existing turbines. Construction is expected to start this fall and be completed in spring 2019, according to the BWPCC.
Improvements in blade technology will allow the new turbines to begin operating and generating power at lower wind speeds, further increasing potential output for the wind farm, the co-op notes. The turbine blades will use a feathered blade trailing edge, reminiscent of a bird’s wing, to minimize blade wake and sound levels. The additional turbines will be erected on land already cleared for the original turbines, minimizing environmental impact to the Brodie Mountain ridgeline.
When it began operation in 2011, Berkshire Wind was Massachusetts’ largest inland wind farm. Today, it is the state’s second-largest wind farm, operating at one of windiest sites in Massachusetts with an average capacity factor of nearly 40%, according to the co-op.
MMWEC signed a contract in 2004 with Berkshire Wind’s original developer to purchase all of the project’s output. In 2008, with much of the permitting completed but no turbines erected, the developer sold the project assets to the BWPCC, which brought the project to commercial operation in 2011.
MMWEC – a joint action agency for public power in Massachusetts – provides a variety of power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state’s consumer-owned, municipal utilities. MMWEC was created in 1969, and through an act of the state legislature, it became a nonprofit public corporation and political subdivision of the commonwealth in 1976, empowered to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance energy facilities for the benefit of municipal utilities and their customers.