If Reunion Power’s proposed East Hill Wind Farm is built, the firm said it is willing to reduce all residential electric bills in the town of Cherry Valley by about 50 percent for the next 20 years.
Company officials and James DiStefano of NYSEG Solutions unveiled the proposal Wednesday night at a forum held at the Cherry Valley Community Center.
David Little, Reunion’s project manager, outlined the offer, which he said is unique in New York state.
“People have asked us if we could help with their electric bills,” he said, “and we want to do that.”
Reunion cannot sell power directly to town residents but can reduce local electric bills through a partnership with NYSEG Solutions, Little said.
Reunion proposes to pay all of the cost of supplying electricity to residential customers, up to 490 kilowatts per month, a figure that represents average consumption in the state, Little said.
Those customers would still have to pay the cost of delivering electricity, which typically comes to about half of the bills.
To receive the benefit, Cherry Valley residents would need to designate NYSEG Solutions as their supplier. Their power would continue to be delivered by National Grid, a successor firm to the former Niagara Mohawk power company.
DiStefano said that customers in Cherry Valley would be allowed to switch to NYSEG Solutions during an enrollment period.
Little said the cheaper power also will be available to people who move to Cherry Valley during the 20-year benefit period.
Stephen Eisenberg, Reunion’s managing director, said he did not know of this benefit being offered anywhere else in the state.
The offer is contingent on the successful development, permitting and construction of the East Hill Wind Farm, which Reunion has been pursuing for more than two years. The offer comes as the Cherry Valley Town Board is about to act on an ordinance that would govern how wind projects operate in the town.
Reunion has proposed building 24 turbines on ridges east of the village of Cherry Valley. The proposal has been controversial, with opponents dominating most public meetings about it.
At Wednesday’s forum, reporters were briefed before doors opened for the public at 5 p.m.
People circled the Teen CafÃ© in the community center, collecting literature and talking to company officials at some of the stations.
The first person to arrive after 5 p.m. was Willard Lynk, a farmer from Sharon Springs, who said, “I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. We’ve got to cut our dependence on oil and use resources like wind.
“I’d like to have wind turbines on my farm,” he said.
A few minutes later, several other people, including Jim Shearer, of Cherry Valley, arrived.
Shearer said he favors the development of renewable-energy resources but opposes Reunion’s project.
“I think they’re pushing this too fast,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot more about wind power in the last two years, and if our wind is really that good, there will be lots of other companies coming along.
“I don’t think these things need to be 410 feet tall,” he added, “and you can’t tell me the company wants to build them for our benefit.”
By Tom Grace
Cooperstown News Bureau
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding