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Scipio OKs test towers for wind power

The Scipio Town Board tonight adopted a local law that will allow “temporary placement of devices to conduct scientific monitoring of meteorological conditions.”

This will allow Shell WindEnergy Group, based in Houston, to erect two to four temporary towers to take wind measurements. The towers will be about 100 feet tall. Possible locations for the test towers are on Town Line Road, Rice Road, Carter Road and Gieger Road.

About 35 people attended a public hearing on the local law tonight. No one voiced opposition to the law, but nearly 20 questions were asked.

Most were about the wind farm project itself, which Shell WindEnergy Group is considering for a ridge just east of Route 34 in Scipio.

Both Kate Pacelli and David Miller, local consultants hired by Shell, town Supervisor Charles Howell and other members of the town board said discussions about finances, noise and other benefits or detriments of the wind farm project are far, far in the future.

“This hearing is just to allow for testing to see if it will make a profitable venture,” Howell said. “It does not mean someone can put up a wind tower.”

Timothy O’Leary, Shell WindEnergy communications manager, said his company will move to put up the meteorology towers “as soon as possible.” Of course, he added, weather will play a part in when they are installed.

The towers would collect data for one to three years.

by Debra J. Groom

The Post-Standard

26 December 2007