Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Opposition to NYS Offshore Wind Turbines

The following published in the 2/9/2010 Watertown Daily Times

Opponents organizing to fight wind plans

Credit: By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times,

Legislators and other officials from Jefferson and Oswego counties will begin mounting opposition to New York Power Authority’s proposal to put 500 megawatts of wind energy development in Lake Ontario.

Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, said they first will find out more about the proposal and then organize to oppose a widespread project.

The Board of Legislators voted to approve the Galloo Island Wind Farm payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement Feb. 2, which helped pave the way for that 252-megawatt project.

“Having them on an island is one thing, but scattered along the shoreline is totally different,” Mr. Blankenbush said.

NYPA asked developers in December to submit proposals to build up to 500 megawatts of wind power, possibly spread out over several potential sites, including 10 sites in Lake Ontario and 13 sites in Lake Erie. Those sites were chosen in part because they have average wind speeds of at least 16.8 mph, have water depths of less than 150 feet and lie 2.3 miles or farther offshore.

One site spreads from Galloo Island north to Grenadier Island and another stretches from Galloo Island south along the eastern shore in Oswego County.

“We’ll figure out what we can do and listen to what is the project they’re talking about,” Mr. Blankenbush said. “But what I’ve heard, I don’t like.”

NYPA’s proposal energized local opposition to wind power and helped the Coalition for the Preservation of the Golden Crescent and Thousand Islands Region to coalesce. Legislator Barry M. Ormsby, R-Belleville, organized the first meeting for Thursday night in Henderson Harbor.

“We will get something organized,” Mr. Ormsby said. “We’ll know how to strategize moving forward.”

He expects another meeting with NYPA officials soon. The deadline for a project proposal from a developer is June 1. NYPA will contract with the operator to buy all of the power from the wind farm or farms through long-term power purchase agreements.

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