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Spinning wind into power; 2 Cicero firms to use windmills for electricity  

Two commercial windmills, among the first of their kind in Onondaga County, soon could be churning out power for two Cicero businesses.

Paul de Lima Coffee, at 8550 Pardee Road, and Parties, Picnics and Promotions, at 9120 Brewerton Road, obtained waivers from Cicero’s windmill moratorium Wednesday and now can bring their proposals to town planners. The idea is to generate cheap electricity to save money on their power bills.

Warner Energy in Clay is testing two windmills at its Morgan Road site before it begins selling such a product for commercial and residential use. But no businesses in the county are known to be using windmills, said representatives of the Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Board and the New York State Energy, Research and Development Authority.

That could change soon. Destiny USA has plans to install 16 vertical-axis wind turbines on light poles in Carousel Center auxiliary parking lots to provide power for the lights at night and the shopping complex during the day. The first ones should be installed within weeks, a company representative said.

There are 32 residential windmills registered with the state energy authority operating around New York, including those on farms, spokeswoman Colleen Ryan said. None of those is in Onondaga County, she said.

There are as many as five residential windmills in the county not registered with the authority, said Courtney Rutherford of New York Wind and Sun. One is at Rutherford’s home along the Seneca River in Baldwinsville. There are several residential windmills in surrounding counties, Rutherford said.

With energy costs soaring, windmills have become a hot topic in local communities. Cicero and other towns in Central New York, including Camillus, Elbridge, Marcellus, Onondaga and Salina, have discussed zoning amendments or moratoriums to give them time to regulate how and where windmills are built, said Megan Costa, Onondaga County’s planning services manager.

Cicero’s moratorium, enacted in March, expires in September. The town board gave the two businesses a waiver after owners made hardship applications.

“Both applications have to go before the planning board, but we think both make sense and are eager to see the windmills in action, if they get through the planning stage,” Cicero Supervisor Chet Dudzinski said.

Gary Thompson, who owns Parties, Picnics and Promotions, wants to erect a 1.8-kilowatt windmill with 6-foot blades on a 45-foot-high pole to supply power to a mini-storage building he plans to build on his 3.4-acre site.

Thompson said the windmill easily would supply enough power for the storage building, with enough left to sell back to National Grid.

“To the east of me sits Oneida Lake, with no resistance,” he said. “To the west of me is a golf course with no resistance, so it’s a perfect site for this.”

Thompson, who is an engineer, said he would buy one of two commercial windmill systems, one made by the Bergey Windpower Co., the other by Southwest Windpower. He plans to install the windmill himself, with supervision from the town’s code office.

The 40 to 65 decibels of noise from the windmill is equal to the noise an outside air conditioner makes at 30 feet,” Thompson said.

The windmill would cost about $12,000, Thompson said, but he could qualify for a $6,100 rebate from the state energy authority.

“The rebates expire Dec. 31, 2009, or whenever they run out of money,” Thompson said, “which is the reason for my hardship application. I want to have my meter spin backward and have National Grid cut me a check each month.”

Paul de Lima would buy its windmill from Warner Energy. The Drescher Corp., with offices in Clay, owns both Paul de Lima and Warner Energy.

The 10-kilowatt, 50-foot-high windmill would go in front of the Paul de Lima building and be visible from Pardee Road and Interstate 81.

Drescher Corp. officials declined to discuss cost or cost savings, but did say the windmill would create substantial energy savings for Paul de Lima. The state energy authority says an on-site or small wind power energy system in a windy location can lower electricity bills between 50 and 90 percent.

“We think the site on Pardee Road is going to be a great location,” company spokesman Kurt Stroman said. “If you look, you can see the treetops on the site, just about all the wooded area surrounding it are tipped in one direction, indicating to us there’s a pretty strong prevailing wind from the north and east. That’s why we have such high hopes that we can offset electric bills to a certain extent.”

The windmills being proposed in Cicero are much smaller, for instance, than the commercial ones at Tug Hill in Lewis County. The Tug Hill windmills have blades with a radius of 200 feet.

There are no fumes, no vibrations and no lights, Stroman said. “They’re no more obtrusive than a large flagpole.”

Companies that install wind turbines for power most likely would remain connected to a power company grid so they could draw power when the wind is not blowing.

By Tom Leo
Staff writer

The Post-Standard

1 June 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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