The Massachusetts Municipal Association's (MMA) annual Kenneth Pickard Innovation Awards were presented during the MMA's recent annual meeting. The city of Medford received an award for its 131-foot wind turbine, which is located on the grounds of John McGlynn Sr. Elementary and Middle School.
The 100 kW turbine supplies about 10% of the school's energy needs. The Medford Clean Energy Committee's Web site provides real-time data on wind speed and the amount of power being generated, as well as running totals of cost savings and pollutant offsets. The city, in partnership with Tufts University and Whole Foods Markets, is also creating a renewable energy education park that is scheduled to be completed this fall.
The innovation award recognizes municipalities that have developed unique and creative projects and programs to increase the effectiveness of local government. Innovations should address a problem common to municipalities in Massachusetts in a new and different way. Innovative programs can be instituted in any area of local government.
This year's awards went to a new approach to educating parents, a wide-ranging partnership to help people in danger of losing their homes, and a long-running program to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy costs.