Change is on the wind in the Village of Limestone and Town of Carrollton.
Both municipalities are looking into providing cheaper electricity service to residents by utilizing windmill energy.
Limestone mayor Ralph Bottone told The Era Friday government officials in the village have already submitted a letter of intent stating their interest in the program to Empire State Wind Energy out of Oneida, and expects Carrollton officials will soon do the same.
Once that has been completed, Bottone said, representatives from Empire State will come out and determine if building a windmill energy system locally is feasible.
Bottone said he and other officials have been in contact with Empire State for the better part of a year, and there has been talk of building five to 15 windmills in the Limestone area. The windmills would produce the energy, or electricity, which is then transmitted through a pre-existing “electricity grid,” he said.
“It will be like building a big electric outlet for the village of Limestone and (town of) Carrollton,” Bottone said, adding residents would pay Empire State for their electricity service.
He went on to say representatives from Empire State were in Limestone last Tuesday, sharing information about their services during Limestone’s regular meeting. During that presentation, it was reported some New York residents using windmills saw a 60 percent savings in electricity costs after the switch.
Many of the initial costs to get the system started will be borne by Empire State, Bottone said; lines and poles will be used through National Grid – the current provider used by residents currently. Bottone explained that Empire State is owned by Tom Golisano, who also owns the Buffalo Sabres hockey team, and the company receives large tax incentives to spend the money necessary to set these systems up.
“The cost to taxpayers is practically nothing,” Bottone said.
If all goes as planned by local officials – meaning the Empire State representatives determine wind mills are feasible for use in the area and then the concept is approved at a public hearing – windmills could be up and running near Limestone in 24 months, Bottone said.
He went on to say the last public meeting for the village was publicized and he hoped they would see a sizable crowd interested in the new energy proposal, but unfortunately, less than 10 residents attended the last meeting. Bottone said he hoped more residents would show an interest in the subject as the process unfolds and attend the public hearing when it is slated.
In addition, Bottone said Limestone and Carrollton officials are also looking into expanding the water and sewer systems to help defray utility costs to residents.
He said officials are most concerned right now with cutting utility costs for their residents, and at the same time, want to bring the small, rural communities into modern times.
By Tammarrah Miles
9 March 2007
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