Last week the Boston Globe first reported the receipt of significant stimulus funding for construction of a large wind turbine blade testing facility in Charlestown. The Wind Technology Testing Center will be the nation's first commercial large blade testing facility capable of handling blades as long as 90 meters. While the majority of current testing occurs at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder CO, no facility in the U.S. is capable of testing blades longer than 50 meters.
In a visit to the proposed site, which has both rail and critical shipping access, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Governor Deval Patrick noted the importance of developing renewable energy systems and insuring that the best, most efficient turbines are built in America. "Testing the next generation of wind turbines here will make Massachusetts a hub for the fastest growing energy source in the world" said Governor Patrick as he announced the funding. Since the announcement, much enthusiasm has been generated by the plan to have the facility completed and ready for testing in late 2010. One government official was quoted noting that the facility would "turbocharge the wind industry in Massachusetts". For me, I've gotten much closer to large blade testing that I could imagine as I live about a half-mile from the site.