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Wind power creates a storm - Renewable energy source doesn't please everyone, especially those living near turbines

CORNING - Plans to build hundreds of electricity- generating wind turbines have stirred a storm of controversy across several Southern Tier counties.

Clipper Windpower Inc. has proposed building about 30 turbines in the town of Hornby in Steuben County and about 10 turbines in the town of Orange in Schuyler County. Steuben Wind Power wants to build about 40 turbines in the Steuben County towns of Hartsville and Hornellsville. EverPower Renewables has proposed 25 to 30 turbines in the Steuben County town of Howard.

UPC Wind wants to build an as-yet-unspecified number of turbines in the Steuben County town of Cohocton. And a partnership between Global Winds Harvest Inc. and UPC Wind, plus another project proposed by Ecogen, could result in more than 100 turbines in the towns of Prattsburgh in Steuben County and Italy in Yates County.

Why so much interest in these rural pockets of upstate New York?

"There are wind resources here that are very positive toward wind development," said James Sherron, executive director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency in Bath.

Wind farms can generate additional income for municipalities in the form of annual payments in lieu of taxes, as well as for farmers, who can lease portions of their land for the placement of turbines, Sherron said.

"The footprint is relatively small, so they... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Clipper Windpower Inc. has proposed building about 30 turbines in the town of Hornby in Steuben County and about 10 turbines in the town of Orange in Schuyler County. Steuben Wind Power wants to build about 40 turbines in the Steuben County towns of Hartsville and Hornellsville. EverPower Renewables has proposed 25 to 30 turbines in the Steuben County town of Howard.
 
UPC Wind wants to build an as-yet-unspecified number of turbines in the Steuben County town of Cohocton. And a partnership between Global Winds Harvest Inc. and UPC Wind, plus another project proposed by Ecogen, could result in more than 100 turbines in the towns of Prattsburgh in Steuben County and Italy in Yates County.
 
Why so much interest in these rural pockets of upstate New York?
 
"There are wind resources here that are very positive toward wind development," said James Sherron, executive director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency in Bath.
 
Wind farms can generate additional income for municipalities in the form of annual payments in lieu of taxes, as well as for farmers, who can lease portions of their land for the placement of turbines, Sherron said.
 
"The footprint is relatively small, so they can continue to do basically what they've been doing before," he said, citing another benefit: "It also lessens our dependence on other sources of energy."
 
But critics say the tall turbines ruin scenic views and are noisy, throw ice, kill birds, create a strobe effect in the sunlight, hurt property values and tourism revenue and won't even supply local electricity. Many say they are not against wind power but oppose what they say is inappropriate placement of wind farms near residential areas.
 
"It's going to wreak some havoc on the town, and these things don't really belong there," said opponent Robert Kern, 62, of Hornby. His Chambers Road property would be within 1,200 feet of the proposed turbines, he said.
 
The Hornby Town Board reviewed proposed zoning changes Monday that would regulate the wind turbines, said Donald Borden, town supervisor.
 
"We made a number of changes and recommendations," he said. "It's going back to the Zoning Revision Committee."
 
The committee could make a presentation at the next regular meeting of the Town Board at 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall, Borden said. However, the committee may not have enough time to make the proposed changes by then, he said.
 
Officials call wind power good investment
The current wind farm development boom apparently was ignited in Albany.
 
In 2002, more than $17 million was provided by the state's Energy Research and Development Authority to support development of five wind farms. That included $4.5 million for Global Wind Harvest Inc. to develop a wind farm in Steuben and Yates.
 
State officials see wind power as a good investment. If only 30 percent of almost 50 wind projects statewide are successful, New York could receive more than $827 million in economic benefits over 20 years, the energy authority says.
 
The New York State Public Service Commission adopted a policy in September 2004 to increase the amount of renewable energy purchased by consumers from 19.3 percent to at least 25 percent by the end of 2013. That goal was part of Gov. George Pataki's 2003 State of the State address.
 
The generation of clean, renewable energy is attractive to Gary Whyman, 47, who lives in the town of Orange. He sees more advantages than disadvantages and would support construction of wind farms, even though he might be in sight of the turbines.
 
"In the longer-range view of what's going on with our Earth, we've got to find better ways to come up with renewable sources of energy," Whyman said. "Hydro and wind and solar power are those that are available and not being utilized as much as they should be."
 
There are considerable incentives at the federal level to promote wind farms, said state Assemblyman James Bacalles, R-Corning. Although the state energy authority is helping wind farm development, there really aren't any state tax incentives to promote them, he said.
 
Wind farm neighbors are likely opponents
Hornby Town Supervisor Donald Borden sees a correlation between residents' support for a wind farm and how close it would be to their property. Support grows stronger the farther people are from it, he said.
 
Bacalles said he isn't unsympathetic with wind farm opponents whose land would overlook the massive turbines. But he has experienced the impact of development firsthand, he said, pointing to changes in Houghton Plot, where he has lived since he was 4 years old.
 
The neighborhood used to be very quiet, but that changed after construction of the Corning bypass. Although he is not right next to the highway, he is affected because he hears the noise of truck traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.
 
"It's not what I desired, but I also recognize the fact that we all have to make sacrifices when it comes to the greater good of the community," Bacalles said. "We all have the possibility of getting stuck with something."

Wind farm information online
PROJECTS
# Windfarm Prattsburgh: www.windfarmprattsburgh.com
# Howard Wind Project: www.howardwindfarm.com
COMPANIES
# UPC Wind Partners: www.upcwind.com
# Global Winds Harvest: www.globalwinds.com
# EverPower Renewables: www.everpower.com
# Airticity Inc.: www.airtricity.com/america
INDUSTRY
# American Wind Energy Association: www.awea.org
# Wind Power New York: www.awea.org/wpny
OPPONENTS
# Advocates for Prattsburgh: prattsburgh.org/html/home.htm
# Save Upstate New York: www.saveupstateny.com
# National Wind Watch: www.windwatch.org
GOVERNMENT
# U.S. Department of Energy: www.eere.energy.gov/RE/wind.html
# New York state Energy Research and Development Authority: www.powernaturally.org/ Programs/Wind/toolkit.asp


Source: http://www.stargazettenews....

MAR 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1573-wind-power-creates-a-storm-renewable-energy-source-doesn-t-please-everyone-especially-those-living-near-turbines
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