LYONS – Village and town officials say they hope to learn more about the idea of building wind turbines here during a workshop this week with the CEO of Empire State Wind Energy.
They decided to hold the session after a Sept. 18 community meeting during which CEO Keith Pitman said Empire State would be interested in investing in Wayne County. He and Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, who founded the company, told an audience of several hundred that they would only build projects acceptable to residents and would return most of the profits to the community through taxes, payments-in-lieu-of-taxes and fixed-rate energy sales.
Details such as the location and scope of the potential project have not been announced.
Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the workshop is now set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Town Hall. Pitman could not make the earlier date.
“I think at this point it’s continued discussion,” said Village Mayor Corrine Kleisle. “But I’m hoping that it becomes something that we’re able to get some use out of and get some relief in energy costs.”
Town Supervisor James Fabino said he’s not sure what to expect from the meeting. But he, too, wants to hear what Empire Wind has to offer.
“I think he knows we’re very interested,” Fabino said of Pitman.
To ensure that any development benefits the community and meets its needs, the Town Board has been working on a local law regulating wind turbines. At their last meeting, board members said they did not want to block wind power development, and Terry VanStean, chairman of the Alternative Energy Task Force, assured them that the proposed law would not do so.
Empire State Wind came to the area at the invitation of the local Alternative Energy Task Force, which was formed last year to investigate turbines and other power sources. At the Sept. 18 meeting, Pitman said Empire State has spent several thousand dollars in the area doing preliminary feasibility studies and that the initial results look good.
“Maybe from this [workshop] we’ll gather the next step of where we’ve got to go,” Kleisle said.
Founded in July, Empire State Wind Energy is based in Oneida and has so far made contact with more than a dozen communities.
By Jim Miller, Finger Lakes Times
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