November 9, 2007
New York

Generating wind power on Gore Mountain

NORTH CREEK – A project is in the works that will dramatically change the face of Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks. A mining company that’s been around since the 19th century, wants 21st century technology to make it a power producer.

Theese days trees are tallest along the Adirondack landscape, but two years from now wind turbines could be towering over them on Gore.

The Barton Group is proposing the first commercial wind project for the Adirondack Park. The company, founded in 1878, mines and crushes garnet, and now it wants to make electricity.

“With the turbines that are proposed to be up there, we will be able to supply enough energy into the grid that will take care of our company and Gore mountain ski area and ten thousand homes,” COO Chuck Barton said.

The company proposes 10 turbines producing up to 30 megawatts of electricity. Barton would sell the electricity to the grid and then buy it back.

But to get through the permit process, Barton has to collect a lot of weather data and even chart the migratory patterns of birds to make sure the gigantic turbine blades don’t interfere with their flight paths or nesting habits.

Project manager Jim McAndrew says it’s been a real education.

“It’s a very exciting project for me as an electrical engineer. Because that’s what we like to do is make electricity and this would make a lot of electricity,” McAndrew said.

Barton has to get the approval of the state’s Adirondack Park Agency, which won’t be easy. It has a history of opposing tall structures, like cell phone towers.

Only last April, after years of petitioning, did the agency allow the construction of cell towers in the park, between exits 28 and 34 of the Northway. But the structures will have to be substantially invisible, made to look like trees.

Another obstacle will be the Adirondack Council, a private non-profit environmental organization. While the towers aren’t near any homes, the council does not like the idea of ten, 280 foot tall wind generators towering over the landscape.

“This project is enormous for the spot they want to put it in, but miniscule in the amount of energy it would produce,” John Sheehan with the Adirondack Council said.

Barton has a long list of supporters going into this process, including the Gore Mountain Ski Resort and area chambers of commerce. If approved, the wind towers could be up by 2009.

Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Massachusetts installed a wind turbine over the summer. Power from that turbine was used for the first time on Nov. 7 when the ski resort started making snow.

By Jim Kambrich

8 November 2007

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