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Toppled turbine raises concerns

Hikers on Black Mountain reached the fire tower at the summit earlier this month to find a 60-foot wind turbine lying in the snow.

Justin Kerner of Clifton Park said it looked like a tree fell on one of the wires that secured the tower and then the turbine fell over.

The State Police own the turbine. Spokeswoman Maureen Tuffey said it fell because a guy wire gave way when a bolt sheered off. She said it might be spring before the turbine is fixed.

Black Mountain is in Washington County and the view from the top takes in Lake George and mountains in New York and Vermont.

Kerner took photographs during his hike on Nov. 5, and supplied them to the Adirondack Council. John Sheehan, executive director of the council, sent the photos to the Times Union.

Tuffey said the troopers must use a helicopter to reach the top of the mountain because they will carry 10 propane tanks – each one holds 200 pounds of fuel – for the generator at the site.

Sheehan said the wrecked turbine illustrates the potential danger of building a wind farm in the Adirondack Mountains. A group called Adirondack Wind Partners, made up of the Barton Group mining operation and Reunion Power LLC, has plans to erect 10 turbines on Pete Gay and Gore Mountain in North Creek, Warren County. The Adirondack Council is opposed to the plan.

Sheehan has said the turbines pose a danger to wildlife and, in light of the crash on Black Mountain, questioned what other risks are involved.

Jim McAndrew, project manager of the wind partners, said comparing the State Police tower to the 400-foot turbines proposed by his company is “like seeing a wind glider crash in the Adirondacks and saying it’s unsafe to fly airplanes there.”

“The foundations would be carefully designed with the expected loads in mind and a substantial margin of error,” McAndrew said.

By Leigh Hornbeck, Staff writer