The Common Good
July 2009

Tilting at Windmills?

by Kaitlin Barker | July 2009

The Teresian Carmelites of Millbury, Massachusetts, soon hope to add a wind farm to their life of prayer and service.

The Teresian Carmelites of Millbury, Massachusetts, soon hope to add a wind farm to their life of prayer and service. But these contemplatives’ six hours of prayer a day hadn’t been focused on alternative energy sources. “We didn’t go looking for this,” monastery prior Brother Dennis Wyrzykowski told Sojourners. “The heart of our community is to help the poor. The land just showed up.”

In 2005, the monastery purchased 99 acres. Afterward, the monks were told that studies by the University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Laboratory indicated that the land’s elevation allowed for very strong winds. RERL considered the land to be one of the best locations for wind energy in the state.

But when the land seller, American Tower Corporation, heard the news—and the potential value of the land—it reneged on the sale. After two years of litigation, the Carmelites finally were able to take possession of the land.

Currently awaiting Federal Aviation Administration approval, the proposed wind farm will generate revenue primarily through the sale of renewable energy credits that will then be tithed to serve poor communities in the area around Worcester, Massachusetts.

—Kaitlin Barker

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