BEEKMANTOWN – One year later, none of the 260-foot Windhorse Power LCC turbines are on the ground yet, but developers say there is progress.
“We’re moving forward on all fronts,” said Windhorse Power co-owner John Warshow.
Warshow and business partner Per White-Hansen were approved last January to construct a wind-harvesting facility of up to 13 turbines across nearly 800 acres in the R-2 zone of Beekmantown.
The Beekmantown Zoning Board unanimously accepted the Vermont-based company’s request for a conditional-use permit, overturning a recommendation from the Clinton County Planning Board to deny the application.
Since then, it’s been a busy year for the developers.
Almost immediately after the Zoning Board’s approval, the West Beekmantown Neighborhood Association, representing more than 100 members, appealed though an Article 78 proceeding to overturn the decision.
They lost earlier this year and have appealed to the Supreme Court for a tentative May hearing.
Despite the continued opposition and lack of construction start date, Windhorse officials aren’t discouraged.
“This takes a lot of time,” Warshow said
The developers have been browsing turbine equipment, approaching contractors, reviewing construction plans and trying to comply with the conditional-use criteria laid down by the Zoning Board last year.
Part of the criteria was that if any of the approved construction plans were changed, the company was required to come before the Zoning Board as if it were a new project.
Windhorse also has yet to finalize a contract with New York State Electric & Gas regarding the sale of electricity harvested by the towers.
However, the long-awaited host agreement between the Town of Beekmantown and Windhorse is very near to being discussed.
“I have a draft here that we’ll be sending to the Town of Beekmantown shortly,” Warshow said.
Aside from detailing the conditional uses, the agreement will work out the terms of a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes.
“They are excited about getting some tax revenue for their towns,” added Warshow. “I understand why people have concerns. I think people realize that we need renewable energy to decrease our dependence on imported fossil fuels and fossil fuels that cause greenhouse gases.”
His career of more than 30 years has been involved with renewable-energy sources, including three hydroelectric dams in Vermont. He is also a member of the Washington Electric Co-op from Vermont.
“That company supports about 40 to 50 percent of our electricity right now,” Warshow said.
But, he has had his sights on wind power for a while.
“The technology has improved. The energy is more efficient. It’s quieter now, and the units are smaller.
“Wind power is the future.”
By Lucas Blaise
16 March 2008
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