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Town pushes program on energy; turbines could be installed at dump

Brant is looking into establishing its own “energy park” with wind turbines.

The town, meanwhile, will hold an “energy fair” Saturday, a step toward potentially becoming a model for the rest of the state.

“We’re really ahead on this; we’re what everybody wants to see – moving toward being a municipality owning our own energy park,” Supervisor Leonard Pero said. “For the smallest town in Erie County, we’re stepping forward.”

Nothing is set yet, but Pero said the town has commitments for about $20,000 to study installing its own wind turbines.

The turbines would be installed at the town landfill, which would be capped. Methane vented from the landfill also would be used to generate into electricity.

The energy fair – from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in Brant Fire Hall, on Brant Farnham Road (Route 249) at Angola Brant Road – aims to introduce Southtowns residents to energy awareness – and solutions.

In addition to exhibits, it will feature talks by Nathan Rizzo of Solar Liberty, Robert Knoer of the Wind Action Group, Kevin Burd of Erie County’s Clean Bus Initiative, Peter Sigurdson of the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency, Walter Simpson of UB Green and Brian Smith of the Erie County Environmental Management Council.

Assemblyman Jack Quinn III, R-Hamburg, and County Legislator Robert B. Reynolds, DHamburg, also will speak.

Bill Henry, Brant’s energy committee chairman and one of the event’s main organizers, emphasized the participation of the State Energy Research and Development Agency, which is funded by fees collected through utility bills.

Of $23 million in incentives awarded by the agency last year, less than 1 percent came to Western New York’s eight counties, noted Henry, who, during the energy fair, will speak on “Western New York in the Dark on Solar.”

Henry, who recently installed a photovoltaic system that will supply all of the electricity his home needs, said a sales tax deters solar projects in Erie County. Such projects, he said, generally are exempted elsewhere.

But he said he hopes the fair will make people aware of ways to reduce energy use and take advantage of what is available.

“A lot of people don’t realize the incentives that are offered,” Henry said, citing $17,000 in incentives on a $24,000 solar energy system.

“I will measure it as a success if we can have the public walking away with an awareness of the Energy Star program as well as renewables,” he said.

By Elmer Ploetz
Staff Reporter

The Buffalo News

21 September 2007