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Study: Wait on wind project  

Credit:  By RAYMOND L. SMITH, Tribune Chronicle, www.tribtoday.com 12 August 2010 ~~

LORDSTOWN – A committee studying a proposed $131,700 wind turbine project recommended that council delay approving any contract until the village receives answers to items that could increase the project’s total costs.

Village officials are looking at whether they should approve placing two wind turbines at the village administration building that could significantly reduce its electricity costs.

Based on the two state grants now available, the local share could be as low as $13,070. One grant from Eastgate Regional Council of Governments would provide up to 50 percent of the project’s cost; a second grant from the Ohio Department of Development would cover 40 percent of the cost.

However, according to the committee, the local share could escalate by as much $51,370 if the project is not approved by Sunday.

Former Councilman James London, who headed the seven-member research committee, said it was told by contractor Greg Courtney of Wind Turbines of Ohio LLC that new federal regulations taking effect next week would increase the tower cost by at least $12,200.

The new regulations will require the towers to withstand winds between 90 and 120 mph, according to the committee’s report. To accommodate the regulations, the size of the foundation would have to increase (costing an additional $2,000 per tower), the cost of the lattice tower would increase by $2,100 per tower, and the cost of the turbine would increase by $2,000 per tower.

Also, while the proposed towers are guyed lattice towers, some suggested mono poles be used because they would be more attractive. If mono pole towers are used, the cost would increase by $10,000 per tower, not including increased foundation costs of $2,000 per tower and new engineering cost of $2,000.

Mayor Michael Chaffee said the village likely will not vote to move forward on the project until council has a chance to digest the committee’s report and find answers to many of its questions.

Kathy Zook, program manager of special projects with Eastgate, said the village successfully applied for and received a Appalachian Regional Commission grant that will pay up to 50 percent of the cost of the project.

“The ARC grant will pay for $65,800,” Zook said. “In addition to the ARC grant, village officials also received an Ohio Department of Development grant providing an additional $52,680.”

Zook said the ARC grant will provide no more than $65,800 for the project.

“If the project costs significantly more than originally proposed, the village will have to find other resources to pay the additional costs,” she said.

Zook said the ARC grant has no immediate deadline, but Eastgate officials would like grant applicants to use their money within 12 months of receiving approval.

“We are glad Lordstown council is doing its due diligence in making sure this is right for the village,” she said.

Source:  By RAYMOND L. SMITH, Tribune Chronicle, www.tribtoday.com 12 August 2010

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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