Webster Town Supervisor Ron Nesbitt says the town could potentially reap big savings by installing a wind turbine at the Phillips Road water treatment plant. A test tower went up in December to determine if the conditions at the plant are right for wind energy. Right now, it costs the town about $200,000 a year to power that facility using electricity.
“What we’ve been told is that we could save 30 to 40 percent of that bill by installing a windmill,” said Nesbitt.
At a nearby farm powered almost entirely by wind energy, Bob Bechtold is thrilled. Bechtold’s long been a proponent of using wind energy as an alternative power source. He also harnesses the wind at his company, Harbec Plastics, on Route 104 in Wayne County.
“I like the phrase I heard recently; if not wind, what?” said Bechtold.
John Boettcher, president of the Rochester Birding Association, has some doubts. Too often, he says, wind turbines pose a threat to flocks of migrating birds.
“I don’t think anyone’s against wind energy, we just need to be smart about where we put these turbines,” said Boettcher.
There are conflicting studies on the danger to birds from wind towers. A Danish study released last month suggests the threat to birds is very minimal. Boettcher concedes there is data to argue the issue either way.
Nesbitt says Webster is moving slowly in this process and is planning public hearings on whether to install a wind tower at the Phillips Road water treatment plant next fall.
By Pat McGonigle
5 March 2007
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