CHERRY VALLEY – One of Reunion Power’s 164-foot meteorological towers designed to measure wind strength was apparently blown down in a storm recently.
Andy Minnig, an East Hill resident and one of the founders of the Advocates for Cherry Valley which opposed Reunion’s plan to put as many as two dozen wind turbines there, said his wife noticed following a wind and ice storm that the normally visible tower suddenly wasn’t there anymore.
Minnig said he reported the “disappearance’’ to Cherry Valley planning board chairman Walter Buist.
Buist reported the fact that it appeared the tower was down, and during last week’s town board meeting councilman Jim Johnson said he would go to the site and take a look. Johnson was accompanied by councilman Mark Cornwall, Buist and former planning board chairman Ed Harvey.
Town supervisor Tom Garretson said they did find the tower was down, and that it looked like one of the guy wires had worked loose from its mooring.
Reunion Power’s Managing Director Steven Eisenberg said Monday that he had heard the tower was down and planned to have someone at the site this week to assess the situation.
The company’s former Project Manager David Little had commented in the past that he believed East Hill had some of the best wind in New York State, but the kind of wind that reportedly took down the tower is not what they’re after.
“Extreme events are not desirable,’’ Eisenberg said. “You don’t want super-high wind events. They don’t make energy, they just make a mess.’’
The town had been in discussions with Reunion about the removal of the towers, which were supposed to be temporary. Garretson said this week his position was that the met towers were erected on a temporary basis, and that after three years it was time for them to come down.
The planning board approved a three-year permit for the towers in November 2004. Eisenberg declined to comment on the discussions with Cherry Valley concerning removal of the met towers. He said it would be inappropriate to comment while he is still researching the issue.
The met tower that went down was erected in January 2005, and is one of two on East Hill.
It went up in Sure Wood Forest, a property on Route 50 owned by the families of Daniel and David Wightman, who operate Wightman’s Specialty Woods in Portlandville. Met towers are temporary wind measurement masts erected to collect wind data at the site and, according to Little, small devices measure wind characteristics at various heights on the 164-footby- 8-inch tower.
Planning board chairman Walter Buist could not be reached for comment.
By Jim Austin
20 March 2008
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