Thursday, April 28, 2011

Turbine Dedication Ceremony Ushers in New Era of Sustainability at MWCC

Prominent state and local leaders joined Mount Wachusett Community College officials, faculty, students and staff members to usher in a new era of energy sustainability during a dedication ceremony April 27 celebrating the college's two new 1.65 MW wind turbines.

Together, the turbines are expected to generate approximately 97 percent of the college's electricity demand, plus return an additional 30 percent of power back to the energy grid. When combined with existing renewable technologies, the college anticipates generating nearly all of its energy on site and achieving the distinction of near carbon neutrality for campus operations.

"This is a major day in the history of Mount Wachusett Community College," said President Daniel M. Asquino. "The wind project caps off a solid decade of renewable energy initiatives and conservation measures that to date have reduced the college's energy consumption nearly by half, and at a significant benefit to the environment, as well. With the addition of wind power, we enter a new era of sustainability."

President Asquino and the college community dedicated the Vestas V82 turbines in honor of Congressman John W. Olver for his support for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy, and to Edward R. Terceiro Jr., MWCC resident engineer and executive vice president emeritus, for his leadership on this project and other campus energy initiatives, and to both for their renewable energy vision. Congressman Olver immediately donned an MWCC turbine t-shirt created by students in the college's Computer Graphic Design Club, before addressing the audience.

"If our nation is going to move away from an energy economy based on petroleum and the burning of fossil fuels, and we must do this to slow climate change and save our planet, then we need to invest much more heavily in renewable sources of power," said Congressman Olver. "The wind initiative at Mount Wachusett Community College is a great program that will move us in the right direction on energy. I am proud to have been a part of it and am honored by this dedication."

In addition to Congressman Olver, President Asquino and Mr. Terceiro, featured speakers at the ceremony included Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner Carole Cornelison, State Senator Jennifer Flanagan, Gardner Mayor Mark P. Hawke, and MWCC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tina M. Sbrega.

The dedication ceremony coincides with the fourth anniversary of Gov. Deval Patrick's 2007 executive order, "Leading by Example – Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings." The wind project is a collaboration between the college, and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management, the Department of Energy Resources, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. The JK Scanlan Company, Inc. of Falmouth, Mass. served as general contractors, and numerous Massachusetts companies were involved in the construction.

"Congratulations to Mount Wachusett Community College for achieving near zero net energy status with the commissioning of these two turbines," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "There couldn't be a more fitting place to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Governor Patrick's executive order establishing the Leading by Example program. From the turbines to a 97 kilowatt solar array to the college's biomass heating system and energy efficiency improvements that have triggered dramatic campus-wide energy savings, Mount Wachusett is truly 'leading by example.' On behalf of the Patrick-Murray Administration, I commend President Asquino and the rest of the college community for their pacesetting efforts," Sullivan said.

The Division of Capital Asset Management played a key role in the college's biomass conversion, as well as the wind project and other campus building projects.

"Today DCAM has a great opportunity to celebrate a long and successful partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College," said DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison. "This project has allowed DCAM to put in place two state-of-the-art wind turbines - an important innovation that brings both energy efficiency and sustainability to the campus, while also demonstrating the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to providing world class public higher education facilities," she said.

"Mount Wachusett Community College has worked aggressively to pursue new options in renewable energy and today's dedication of the two turbines further cements the college's role as a leader in the national campus climate movement," said Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with campus leadership as we bolster our sustainability initiatives throughout the Commonwealth."

"As a result of all the renewable energy work that the college has done, sustainability has become the mantra of the college and is now infused throughout the curriculum," Terceiro said. "Everyone has embraced the work that we're doing."

Photos from top to bottom: President Daniel M. Asquino, Ph.D. shakes hands with Executive Vice President Emeritus and Resident Engineer Edward R. Terceiro, Jr.; President Asquino welcoming ceremony attendees at the podium; U.S. Congressman John W. Olver making his moving dedication speech while wearing one of the student-designed wind turbine t-shirts; Edward Terceiro explaining that proceeds from sales of the student-designed t-shirts featuring the "Catch the Wind" turbine design will benefit student scholarships; MWCC Computer Graphic Design students Jon Skinner and Noah Ciccoine at the dedication ceremony; Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. from the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs addressing the audience; Commissioner Carole Cornelison from the Division of Capital Asset Management speaking at the dedication ceremony; Secretary Sullivan facing the crowd with the two turbines in the background on the Gardner campus of Mount Wachusett Community College. (Photos By Dana Armstrong, MWCC).

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