An MIT group wants to erect a wind turbine on one of the west campus sports fields.
The Cambridge Planning Board will conduct a public hearing about the wind turbine tonight at 7 p.m. at the Cambridge Community Development offices at 344 Broadway. If the turbine is approved, it may be installed within a couple of months, according to Kelley Brown, a senior planner in the Department of Facilities.
One proposed location is the southwest corner of the Steinbrenner Stadium, on the edge of the small grass practice field. The other location is the westernmost part of Briggs Field, on the grass between the two soccer fields. The final location will be chosen based on research data on wind and the impact on pedestrians at the location.
The wind turbine will be a Skystream 3.7 manufactured by Southwest Windpower Inc., with three 12-foot turbine blades about 68 feet above the ground. The wind turbine can generate 2.4 kilowatts.
The energy generated will be delivered to the nearest underground transformer connection and will be connected to the campus power grid according to Kathleen M. Araujo G, who is organizing the project, in cooperation with the Department of Facilities.
Brown said the project is being funded by an outside donor.
The wind turbine has already met certain local standards such as Cambridge Noise Ordinance; it will produce 45 dB sound pressure level at 40 feet, softer than a quiet restaurant.
Araujo said that, if approved, this will be the first wind turbine installed at MIT.
The wind turbine is a side project of MIT’s Wind Energy Group, a larger student, faculty and outside corporate effort to develop wind-derived energy systems, of which Araujo is president.
Called “Project Full Breeze,” the turbine project consists of graduate students led by Araujo and Katherine Dykes G, vice president of the MIT Energy Club and founder of the Wind Energy Group.
According to the Project Full Breeze website, http://sites.google.com/site/windenergymit/, the group first began by installing anemometers and other wind measurement equipment donated by NRG Systems, a company which produces wind assessment tools, on a light pole in the Steinbrenner stadium. Then group then installed the meteorological tower, also donated by NRG, on the fields near the Westgate Parking lot.
Araujo said that the meteorological tower is currently fenced off and will be removed once MIT athletes begin using the fields.
Some students have shown concern about the placement of the wind turbine.
Alexander M. Mannion ’11 said, “I could see how it would affect people playing pick-up. These fields get really crowded on weekends...Having a large metal structure next to a playing field would not be a good idea. Perhaps they should consider putting a barrier around it.”
Araujo said that much thought has been put into the selection of the wind turbine locations and that the wind turbine is effectively no different from the light poles on the fields.
Project Full Breeze has been working on installing the wind turbine for about a year, she said. “It’s wonderful to see that MIT is proving to be a living laboratory…We’re thrilled to see the progress made thus far, particularly the ways in which the project continues to advance.”