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Courting wind power substitutes for real economic development

What were the problems with Reunion Power's 24 windmills proposed for Cherry Valley's East Hill? Foremost, they presented an industrial use in a rural setting. Would a steel mill be appropriate on the rise above Route 20? Or a coal mine? Beyond that, there were concerns about noise, possible impacts on the health of people living in the vicinity, occasional transformer fires, interference with TV signals and degradation of property values.

What were the problems with Reunion Power's 24 windmills proposed for Cherry Valley's East Hill?

Foremost, they presented an industrial use in a rural setting. Would a steel mill be appropriate on the rise above Route 20? Or a coal mine?
Beyond that, there were concerns about noise, possible impacts on the health of people living in the vicinity, occasional transformer fires, interference with TV signals and degradation of property values.

Some folks scoff at the marring of the viewshed. But the view from East Hills, cross-country drivers tell the Latellas, who operate The Tepee, is the most beautiful to be found along all of Route 20's 3,365 miles. (It is the longest road in the nation.)

Since, Noble Environmental Resources, its financing having disappeared in the Wall Street fiasco, has abandoned half-built turbines near Chateauguay. There were concerns about what wind-power companies might do when the 400-foot-tall turbines wore out. Now we know we may not have to wait that long.

Happily, once the Town of Cherry Valley adopted its wind regulations in 2007, Reunion Power went away.

Except for the regulations, nothing has changed. All of wind power's negatives are still... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

What were the problems with Reunion Power's 24 windmills proposed for Cherry Valley's East Hill?

Foremost, they presented an industrial use in a rural setting. Would a steel mill be appropriate on the rise above Route 20? Or a coal mine?
Beyond that, there were concerns about noise, possible impacts on the health of people living in the vicinity, occasional transformer fires, interference with TV signals and degradation of property values.

Some folks scoff at the marring of the viewshed. But the view from East Hills, cross-country drivers tell the Latellas, who operate The Tepee, is the most beautiful to be found along all of Route 20's 3,365 miles. (It is the longest road in the nation.)

Since, Noble Environmental Resources, its financing having disappeared in the Wall Street fiasco, has abandoned half-built turbines near Chateauguay. There were concerns about what wind-power companies might do when the 400-foot-tall turbines wore out. Now we know we may not have to wait that long.

Happily, once the Town of Cherry Valley adopted its wind regulations in 2007, Reunion Power went away.

Except for the regulations, nothing has changed. All of wind power's negatives are still there.

Now, Supervisor Tom Garretson has reopened the door and let the wind back in.

Facing tax and revenue shortfalls - what municipality isn't this year? - Garretson has asked the town's Alternative Energy Committee to revisit the whole question of turbines on East Hill. (It's members, most of them anyhow, must be dismayed.)

He has reconnected with Steve Eisenburg, Reunion's president, and learned that, yes, the company would be interested in trying again.
He has revived the hopes of the handful of East Hill landowners whose Reunion leases are still active.

In effect, the process is underway to let Pandora out of the box - again.
This comes as word is received that Iberdrola/Community Energy may be pulling out of southern Herkimer County. Otsego Lake's historic and world-renown viewshed - that effete word again - would be secure for future generations.

Of course, President Obama's stimulus package promises to be a shot in the arm to alternative-energy development, but it can only be hoped that it proceeds with prudence and sensitivity, not with the wrecking-ball sensibility of recent years.

Garretson is right to be concerned about municipal financing in this atmosphere.

That said, to view wind as a quick fix is short-sighted, exchanging revenues today for problems down the road.

In truth, the town and village of Cherry Valley are no different than most municipalities in Otsego County - tourist-battered Cooperstown, for instance, is pretty close to broke, with no long-term concept in place to turn its dire finances around.

Generally, the county - with the exception of the City of Oneonta, which is buoyed by major institutions and something of a manufacturing base - isn't a success story. There are pockets of significant wealth surrounded by profound rural poverty.

Here's an idea for turning it around.

Nothing is going to happen in any community that lacks municipal sewerage. But our small, impoverished population centers can't begin to afford the 5 percent share state and federal grants have required.

Why shouldn't county government, with its greater resources and bonding power, pick up the local cost of sewers and waste-water plant construction, community by community? As local business and retail began to flourish, the county would more than get its money back. Why not start with charming but under-achieving Cherry Valley?

Beyond that, other than Oneonta and Cooperstown, only the county has the firepower to jump start community and economic development programs in the localities. Why not add a position in the county's Economic Development Office specifically for this purpose?

Look, wind is great - in the abandoned Dakotas, not in lovely Upstate New York which, in spite of itself, has so much going in its favor.

It's painful to disagree with Tom Garretson, whose integrity and community focus is unchallenged.

But let the Alternative Energy Committee pursue a full gamut of initiatives.
Going forward, smaller and smaller wind devices will produce more and more power. Let's not saddle ourselves with 24 looming behemoths when, a decade down the road, neat little whirly-gigs will do.


Source: http://thefreemansjournal.c...

FEB 10 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19062-courting-wind-power-substitutes-for-real-economic-development
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