New Energy-Saving Project Planned for Wellfleet Bay

As Wellfleet Bay members know and most of its visitors can’t help but notice, the sanctuary has been making use of alternative energy sources and recycled materials in a big way: from the award-winning sustainable nature center built from repurposed materials in 2008, to the two solar panel arrays installed in 2006 and 20011.

The sanctuary is now ready for its next significant “greening” initiative—the installation of an 11 kilowatt micro-wind turbine next to the photovoltaic panels adjacent to the parking lot.

This 120 foot tall, two-bladed turbine made by Gaia-Wind is small by green industry standards and is well under half the size of industrial turbines which can be seen elsewhere. Because of its small size, it generates little noise. Still, it will be highly efficient, producing the remaining power the sanctuary requires to operate.

Gaia Wind Micro Turbine

On Thursday, May 23 from 5–7 p.m., the sanctuary will host a community open house to provide more information about the project, including images of the proposed turbine, site plans, and to answer questions.

“Mass Audubon has given this proposal a great deal of thought,” said sanctuary director Bob Prescott. “After all, the turbine will be located at a wildlife sanctuary. We are also sensitive to its potential impact on our neighbors.”

A sound study is already underway and computer-generated images of what the turbine would look like from key vantage points both on the sanctuary grounds and in the surrounding area are available. There will also be three years of studying the turbine’s impact on birds and bats to ensure there is no adverse effect.

“This proposal dovetails with Mass Audubon’s organization-wide commitment to demonstrate affordable, practical ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint and help to offset emissions contributing to climate change,” Prescott noted. “We also anticipate using the turbine as part of our education programs and to further engage the greater community to which we belong.”

The turbine will require approval by Wellfleet’s Zoning Board of Appeals. If approved, it would be constructed in the off-season to minimize impact on visitors and wildlife.

Check this page regularly for reports on the progress of the project. Additional resources:

“We look hope our members and the local community will share our enthusiasm for a project that will further demonstrate Mass Audubon’s commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon emissions,” Prescott said.