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APA approves second wind-testing tower


By ERIN DEMUTH, edemuth@poststar.com
Tuesday, August 15, 2006 7:50 AM EDT
NORTH CREEK – A proposal by Barton Mining Co. to build 10 windmills on the northern side of Gore Mountain cleared a key hurdle last week when the Adirondack Park Agency unanimously approved the construction of a second weather-monitoring mast on the garnet-mining business’s property.

“Normally, in wind development, the putting up of towers would be very preliminary,” said Jim McAndrew, vice president of strategic projects for the Barton Group.

In Barton’s case, gaining approval for this preparatory step has been something of a challenge, he continued, making it a significant achievement in the larger effort to get the $30 million project up and running.

“It’s an important step to get past,” McAndrew said. “If you can’t get to the first stoplight, you can’t start your cross-country trip.”

This second tower, for which Barton has been granted two years of approved use, will be used to collect the same type of data the first mast has been harvesting for about two years. It will be located at a lower altitude about four-tenths of a mile west of the first mast, which will remain in place.
“One of the reasons we wanted the second mast is that it allows us to compare the results between the two towers,” McAndrew explained. “It will allow us to verify data from the first tower at another location.

“Basically, it’ll better characterize the wind resource on the property,” he continued, adding that the second tower should be erected by the end of the month or shortly thereafter.

The new mast, like the existing one, will be about 165 feet tall and will be equipped with five anemometers to measure wind velocity and force, as

well as temperature and direction.

Air temperature is important to monitor because dense air is effected by temperature, McAndrew explained. “Dense air, at a given speed, has more energy than thin air.” The Adirondack Park Agency on Thursday gave Barton permission to collect such wind-related information with this second mast for several reasons.

“It’s a temporary tower in an industrial land use classification, and it’s tucked behind a ridge line,” APA spokesman Keith McKeever said. “The board felt that because it was temporary and substantially invisible, they could go ahead and approve it.”

Johnsburg Town Supervisor Bill Thomas is pleased the agency saw fit to approve the tower.

“The second tower gives them an opportunity to see if they want to go forward with the wind farm or not,” he explained. “It’s good that they’ve got it. We’ll see where we go from here.”