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Wind power issues discussed  

The potential and failures of wind power in Herkimer County has been an ongoing topic for years in the area, with strong opinions on both sides.

The debate continued Thursday morning when Herkimer County Community College held its Executive Breakfast Series and focused the discussion on wind power development in the county and the pros and cons of the technology.

William Moore, who has been directly involved with Madison, Fenner and Maple Ridge Wind Farms, spoke on the potential benefits of the power source and Dr. Frank Congel, a private energy consultant and former ranking official of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, spoke on the drawbacks from wind power.

Moore, a co-founder of Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation, has been involved with the proposed Hardscrabble Wind Farm, which is set to be in Fairfield and Norway, for the past four years.

The 44-turbine Hardscrabble project would produce $18 to $20 million in payment in lieu of taxes payements and have a system of underground power lines and 16 miles of access roads.

He said some of the benefits from wind power include clean energy, economic development and open space preservation.
One myth Moore corrected was that wind farms do not generate much energy; he countered that the Maple Ridge Wind Farm generates 2 percent of the state’s energy.

“Wind farms are one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States and worldwide,” said Moore.

Another myth he contradicted is that wind power is intermittent and unreliable, but Moore said a recent study by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers showed wind power can improve the electrical system’s performance and stability.

Moore, a Yale graduate, said there are imbalances that need to be addressed but 3,000 more mega-watts of wind power could be plugged into New York’s power grid without any upgrades.

Congel, who advised the governor of Pennsylvania in 1979 following the nuclear accident on Three Mile Island and attended the Soviet Union’s presentation to the International Atomic Energy Agency following the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986, stated wind energy is low output compared to other energy sources, usually ranging from one and a half to two mega-watts of power.

He said most wind farms only produce an average of 25 percent of their capacity because there isn’t always wind to power turbines.

Congel said a common misconception is that wind energy replaces energy that comes from coal or nuclear and hydro processes.

He explained the power system as coal, nuclear and hydro power are on the first tier, providing a constant supply of power. Wind power is one source on a second tier that supplements the grid. Because wind power only augments the system, it does not replace other sources.

“Wind generators do not reduce or eliminate coal, nuclear or hydro,” said Congel.

Congel, who has his doctorate from Clarkson University, offered energy-saving suggestions at the end of his presentation.

Moore would like to see incandescent lightbulbs banned by 2010 instead of 2020, increase incentives for electric conservation, increase research on clean coal technology and determine the sources of major greenhouse emissions and focus on principal sources. As an example he suggested looking into coal fires in India and China.

By Eric Monnat

The Evening Telegram

6 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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