|No wind turbines for Columbia; Community Energy pulls out
COLUMBIA CENTER – Rather than continue negotiations with the
town of Columbia, Community Energy – at least for now – has withdrawn
its proposal to build 13 wind turbines in the town. Skip Brennan, the
firm’s project development director, said, however, the neighboring
towns of Stark and Warren continue to express interest in having some
60 to 70 generators in that area.
Community Energy had submitted a proposed ordinance to town of
Columbia officials and hoped they would act on it within a short time
so it could proceed with the project. The proposed ordinance came as a
result of the Zoning Board of Appeals’ denial of a permit to
erect a meteorological tower to test wind speed, which is normal
procedure. Town Planning Board Chairman John Murtha said the company
never filed an appeal with the ZBA but instead went directly to the
town board with the proposed ordinance.
Community Energy requested that the town act quickly on the
ordinance, but town officials said it could take as long as a
year to pass it. “They’re obviously not very gung-ho” about having wind
generators in the town, Brennan said. Basically, the ordinance would
establish setback requirements and usually wind generators are at least
1,000 feet from highways. The company is based in Wayne, Pa.
The wind generators are about 280 feet high and the three blades on
each are 125 feet long. In a year, one generator produces one and a
half to two megawatts, or enough power to serve 40,000 homes.
Currently, there are enough generators installed through the U.S. to
produce 6,740 megawatts of power, and by the end of this year, this
will be up to 9,000 megawatts. There are several wind generator
projects being proposed throughout New York State by several different
companies. Numerous financial institutions and equity partners are
reportedly clamoring to build wind generators because of the potential
return on investment and tax credits and millions in grant money to
develop alternative energy sources.
But in many areas, strong resistance has mounted over various issues
such as aesthetics, eminent domain, questionable contracts with
landowners and other issues of concern.