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More than 300 attend forum on Delaware wind power

A Delaware County forum on wind power Saturday could be just the beginning of a larger effort to inform area residents of the costs, benefits and risks of wind farms.

One of the panelists at the event held in the Farrell Hall Auditorium at the State University College of Technology at Delhi said he is planning more like it.

"I’m hoping we can get additional forums going," Stephen McCarthy said.

The forum attracted more than 300 people and ran for two hours, organizers said.

The Delaware County Electric Co-op is eyeing the renewable energy source as a way to complement its power supply and several companies are interested in establishing commercial wind farms in the area, the co-op’s executive director, Greg Starheim, said Sunday.

Wind farms have become a hot topic across the state as detractors caution the large towers and spinning blades pose risks to wildlife and can ruin the scenic quality of the countryside.

"We’re not so unique," Starheim said of the controversy.

The co-op serves 15,000 customers in Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Meteorological test towers to gauge wind speed and direction have been installed in the towns of Walton, Tompkins and Meredith.

Starheim said initial results from the survey towers will be available in a few months and will indicate if wind towers would be viable at those locations. The full survey is... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
One of the panelists at the event held in the Farrell Hall Auditorium at the State University College of Technology at Delhi said he is planning more like it.

"I’m hoping we can get additional forums going," Stephen McCarthy said.

The forum attracted more than 300 people and ran for two hours, organizers said.

The Delaware County Electric Co-op is eyeing the renewable energy source as a way to complement its power supply and several companies are interested in establishing commercial wind farms in the area, the co-op’s executive director, Greg Starheim, said Sunday.

Wind farms have become a hot topic across the state as detractors caution the large towers and spinning blades pose risks to wildlife and can ruin the scenic quality of the countryside.

"We’re not so unique," Starheim said of the controversy.

The co-op serves 15,000 customers in Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Meteorological test towers to gauge wind speed and direction have been installed in the towns of Walton, Tompkins and Meredith.

Starheim said initial results from the survey towers will be available in a few months and will indicate if wind towers would be viable at those locations. The full survey is expected to take at least a year, he said.

"People shouldn’t be excited about this — it’s not going to happen overnight," Starheim said.

The two-hour panel discussion featured Starheim, McCarthy and representatives of the state Energy Research and Development Authority, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and a former town supervisor from Madison County. No wind-farm company officials were on the panel, but several were at the forum, Starheim said.

McCarthy said his biggest concern is getting local government officials the information they need to make decisions as more and more wind-farm companies look to expand into the region.

"The towns need to find out what’s going on. There’s a lot that needs to be discussed," he said.

McCarthy, who identifies himself as a concerned resident, said wind-farm companies like to target areas with few or no zoning laws.

But McCarthy said local governments in Delaware County are not fond of installing restrictions on what someone can or can’t do on their own land.

"There’s a lot of resistance to that," he said.

Delaware County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Eisel said home rule applies to the possible development of wind farms in the county.

"Each town would have to have some sort of regulation," Eisel said.

He said there is time for local governments to strategize about the extent of regulation they would impose.

"I think wind is environmentally sound," Eisel said. "I think it’s something that should be totally explored."

He said the county’s towns should expect to receive a property- tax windfall from wind farms.

"(The towers) are expensive units. They would be assessed," Eisel said.

The meeting was "very informative," Eisel said,

"Higher costs for energy are in our future," he said. "We have to find an alternate source of energy."

McCarthy said he has set up a website, http://www.delcowind.org, to act as a clearinghouse of information on wind farms.


Source: http://www.thedailystar.com...

FEB 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1461-more-than-300-attend-forum-on-delaware-wind-power
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