By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Though there’s no word yet whether the transfer station could be a good fit for a wind-powered system, the initiative could spur alternative energy projects at other town buildings.
At a meeting of the town’s energy committee last week, Derry Recycling Coordinator Joanie Cornetta proposed including a wind turbine as part of plans for a new transfer station.
“A lot of people in town want to go green and see Derry be more environmentally conscious, so I started thinking that if we’re going to have a new facility, why not go wind-powered if we can?” Cornetta said in an interview Friday.
And while there are no concrete plans for a new transfer station yet, Cornetta said she’s hoping to start planning ahead.
“It’s not something that you can just put up a windmill and hope for wind,” she said. “I’d like to something in 2012, but we’re right at the first stages.”
The first step toward a windpowered system will be studying if there’s actually enough wind at the proposed site, said Tom Minnon, chair of Derry’s Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee.
“The first thing anyone should do before investing in a wind generator is to make sure there’s enough wind available,” Minnon said Monday. “Not every state in the country has enough wind and typically southern New Hampshire is not a real great place for wind.”
Minnon said the committee will likely work with its vice chairman Brian Pellerin, who owns Freedom Renewable Energy, to arrange a study of the transfer station site to measure just how much wind is available.
But even if there isn’t enough wind in Derry, Minnon said Cornetta’s idea of looking to renewable energy at the transfer station is not a bad one.
“I applaud Joanie for wanting to do something to offset out electricity costs,” Minnon said. “Anything we could to to reduce energy costs are obviously going to be in the town’s best interest, but we need to make sure that whatever monies we spend is going to make economic sense.”
“I’d like to see what we can do across the town’s municipal facilities to reduce energy use,” he continued.
Minnon said that solar power might be another pathway to consider.
The energy committee proposed a large-scale solar power system for the municipal center last year, he said, but lost out on federal stimulus grants for the project due to the project’s scope and lack of matching funds.
“When another round of funding opportunities come around, the energy committee will be working in tandem with (Public Works Director) Mike Fowler and the town council and Joanie to look at those options,” Minnon said.