Building Bridges: Berkshire Gas Meets Avangrid Renewables
With the Berkshire Gas service territory in Massachusetts abutting Avangrid Renewables’ Hoosac Wind Facility, a neighborly drop by seemed long overdue.
So a team of Berkshire Gas leaders recently rang the doorbell at Hoosac and were welcomed with open arms to the 19-turbine complex on Florida Mountain that generates 28.5 MW of clean energy.
Planning for the meeting and tour began some five months earlier when Berkshire Gas Manager of Corporate Communications and Government Relations Chris Farrell suggested the idea to Hoosac Wind Project Administrator Marie Harpin, who is also a member of the North Adams City Council, at a swearing in ceremony for North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard. The idea was warmly received and the clock started ticking to June 20, when winter weather had long passed and optimal safety conditions existed.
A group of ten employees, representing the Berkshire Gas Leadership Team and members of the Company’s Marketing, Rentals and Energy Efficiency Departments, visited and toured the facility. Prior to the tour, Renewables personnel fielded questions about wind turbine technology before conducting a comprehensive safety orientation. The orientation was followed by a test to assure that all site safety protocols were known, understood and would be followed during the visit.
Along with Harpin, Plant Manager Nate LeBlanc welcomed the Berkshire Group and introduced Wind Technicians Jim Andrews and Ryan McCann, who assisted with the tour. A small motorcade, with Renewables vehicles in the lead and following up the rear, then proceeded to turbine #10 at the facility. Following a shut down of the turbine, the group approached the towering blades and learned about the components and operational complexities of wind technology.
The two AVANGRID business units also discussed future collaboration opportunities. One such opportunity may be joint participation in a Habitat for Humanity housing complex build planned for September in Pittsfield, Mass.
“This was not only a great opportunity for Berkshire Gas personnel to learn more about renewables, and wind technology in particular, but it also represented a relationship building opportunity with colleagues from two very different business units. The mutual interest was clear, and all parties came away with a greater appreciation for the diverse aspects of both business units,” said Berkshire Gas President Frank Reynolds. “I was excited to see and experience the engagement and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate under the Avangrid umbrella.”