A wind energy company’s CEO said last night that he’s ready to begin planning a project here if the town is ready to commit to a partnership, a deal he likened to a prenuptial agreement.
Keith Pitman of Empire State Wind Energy said he was not asking the Town Board to commit any money or take any financial risk – just to stand up and say they are interested.
“It’s really a demonstration of faith “¦ a public acknowledgment that you’re on board,” he said.
Although the board took no formal vote last night, members said after the meeting that they do want to pursue wind power
Pitman said his company could begin spending money on detailed planning – and begin more detailed negotiations with the town – once the board commits to working with his company.
“In any of these projects, there is a pie of money to be had,” he said. “What we’d like to talk about is who would like what slice of pie.”
Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, the money behind Empire State Wind, spoke with Pitman at the Ohmann Theater in September. The two said they only want to build projects acceptable to residents and that they want to return most of their profits to the community through taxes, payments-in-lieu-of-taxes and fixed-price energy sales.
“We’re a vehicle, an economic development tool to better your community,” Pitman said last night.
The company has spent several thousand dollars on preliminary research in the area, scouting sites such as Brantling Hill and DeNeef Hill near the border between Lyons and Sodus. The early results look good, said Pitman, who has also had talks with Sodus town officials.
It’s possible for the two towns to work together on at least some of the negotiations, he said.
To be worked out are issues such as who the company would sell power to and how much it could sell it for. Pitman said those more detailed negotiations could take several months.
Empire State Wind would also have to negotiate leases with property owners, whom the company would compensate for use of their land.
Pitman said abutting property owners could also receive compensation because they, too, would have to see and hear the turbines every day.
The company and the community would also have to decide on the size and scope of the project.
“We don’t yet know the exact magnitude of what’s possible here,” Pitman said. “And that’s a moving target and a work of art. “¦ These projects are constantly evolving.”
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By Jim Miller
Finger Lakes Times
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