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County extends contract for study of wind projects

The county’s study of the windmill issue continues as county legislators last week extended an agreement with a company hired as a consultant on wind energy projects by $5,000.

As three proposed wind energy projects are being developed in Herkimer County, Encap Development LLC was hired by the county last year to gain information about wind projects and examine the issues involved, including financial aspects. The county is seeking to discover a fair amount of payment in lieu of taxes money the various entities involved could expect to receive.

County Administrator James Wallace said the $5,000 extension brings the total amount paid to Encap, including a $15,000 extension approved by the legislature in April, to $25,000. Finance Committee Chairman Dennis Korce, R-Little Falls, remarked that the cost of the company’s services would be worth it in the long run given the payments the county expects to receive from the wind energy companies.

“Our return would more than offset these costs,” said Korce.

Also last week, Jordanville farmer Ed Mower spoke before the legislature to urge the county to get behind the projects, adding Herkimer County stands to step forward as a leader in the area of renewable energy. Community Energy, the company developing a project in the towns of Warren and Stark, has said the 68-wind turbine project would have the capacity to provide the annual electric needs of more than 51,000 homes.

A final environmental impact statement on the project is being conducted that includes several environmental, geophysical and operational studies.

Officials from towns where the windmill farms have been proposed have criticized county officials for not involving them more in talks between the county and the windmill companies. County lawmakers, though, have said they want to hold off on involving the towns more until they have all the facts about the proposed projects themselves, particularly the results of the Encap report.

By Joe Parmon-Telegram Staff Writer