The Department of Veterans Affairs held a dedication ceremony today to dedicate a new 50-kilowatt wind turbine at Massachusetts National Cemetery. The 120-foot tall structure is projected to produce up to 95 percent of the cemetery's annual electricity usage which will allow it to operate almost entirely on renewable energy.
Under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, who flipped the switch at today's wind turbine dedication, VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America's Veterans. "Nationally, VA continues to expand its investment in renewable sources of energy to promote our Nation's energy independence, save taxpayer dollars, and improve care for our Veterans and their families," said Shinseki.
Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro also attended and gave remarks. "With one of VA's first wind turbine projects, the Massachusetts National Cemetery is leading the way in the use of renewable energy while providing the burial benefits that New England Veterans and their families have earned," Muro said.
The wind turbine project was funded through a $553,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and is part of an overall VA energy conservation initiative that includes renewable energy generation technologies, metering systems, and energy conservation and water-saving measures. In total, the renewable energy systems awarded represent more than nine megawatts of planned power generating capacity from solar, wind, and cogeneration technologies.
In fiscal year (FY) 2010 alone, VA's renewable energy accomplishments included awarding 17 solar energy projects, one new wind turbine, one geothermal system, and six combined heat and power (CHP) systems. The commitment by VA to clean energy in FY 2011 continues through contracts to implement seven solar energy projects, two wind turbines, six geothermal systems, and one renewable CHP system, and VA expects to award 19 additional projects before the end of the fiscal year. Once completed, VA's FY 2011 awarded renewable energy projects will generate an estimated 46 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This is enough electricity to meet the annual needs of approximately 4,100 U.S. households.
For information on the Massachusetts National Cemetery or the wind turbine project, call the cemetery office at 508-563-7113. To make burial arrangements at the time of need, call the national cemetery scheduling office at 800-535-1117. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at http://www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000.
VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than 3 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres of land.