Renewable Energy on the Islands
Solar Electric Power
There are several smaller photovoltaic installations on a few other islands. These are called "remote" or "stand alone" systems because they are not connected to the grid and have battery packs that store the electricity produced from the sun. Peddocks Island has had one of these systems since the mid-1990s.
The harbor islands are an excellent location for solar power because the low tree cover and flat areas between the islands allow for maximum duration of direct sunlight without shading. Several additional locations have been studied for photovoltaic systems that could be connected to the electric power grid. If these get installed they would produce enough energy to supply electricity to approximately 500 homes per year.
Depending on which island you visit, you may be able to see a wind turbine on the mainland at Wind Mill (Pemberton) Point in Hull. This single turbine produces power for all the streetlights in town, the equivalent of about 200 homes each year. This elegant machine has been so successful that a second, larger turbine is being planned for another part of town. That machine will produce enough energy to offset the electricity use of about 500 homes per year.
The area of the harbor along the coast has high average wind speeds, making it a prime location for wind power. Like the photovoltaic system, potential sites for additional wind turbines have been studied and are in the early planning stages.
Planning Guide for Renewable Energy
A 2005 study discusses possible renewable energy installations on the Boston Harbor Islands and what it will take to make them occur.
The islands in Boston harbor are especially well suited for harvesting renewable energy because they have wide open landscapes for excellent solar exposure, constant high quality wind for turning turbines, and good wave and tidal cycles to capture water power.
Did You Know?
Scientists have recently identified a beach-dwelling ground beetle at Boston Harbor Islands that has not been seen in North America for over 100 years. It is believed the beetle, Bembmidion nigropiceum, was brought to Boston from Europe in the 1800s via ship ballasts.