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Opportunity in the wind  

A company with big plans for wind energy in Niagara County is expected to make a second stop in the City of Niagara Falls next month.

Representatives from Empire Wind Energy, the Oneida-based company backed by Buffalo Sabres owner Thomas Golisano, will attend the June 16 council meeting where they are expected to reveal the results of their analysis on the potential for wind energy development in the Falls.

Company officials presented council members with an overview of their operations earlier this year.

Council Chairman Sam Fruscione said he expects the follow-up meeting to include more details about the potential costs and benefits of installing windmills in Niagara Falls.

“This is something that could generate revenue for the city,” he said.

Officials in the Town of Somerset have for months debated the benefits of forming a partnership with Empire State Wind Energy.

In March, the town’s council voted down a host community agreement that would have allowed the company to move forward with its plans to install windmills on land leased by private citizens to the company. Officials from Empire Wind Energy have promised to return as much as 75 percent of the profits generated by the sale of electricity generated by windmills in Somerset. The town’s supervisor, Richard Meyers, has said the initiative could bring in as much as $1.3 million, although opponents of the deal dispute those figures.

Golisano is the chairman of the board at Empire State Wind Energy. The company’s CEO, Keith Pitman, is recognized as an expert in the electric utility and energy fields and has previously served as superintendent for two municipally owned electric utilities.

Mayor Paul Dyster said the company is considering a number of locations for windmills in the city, with the possibilities including land along Buffalo Avenue or Highland Avenue and property in the old Love Canal area of LaSalle.

While an advocate of the use of alternative energy and not necessarily adverse to the idea of developing wind turbine energy in the city, Dyster said there are still many questions that need to be answered, including how exactly the company and the city will share revenue and the potential impact of windmills on the community’s natural surroundings.

“We need to consult the public and find out what the citizens who live here think about this,” Dyster said.

By Mark Scheer

Niagara Gazette

30 May 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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