CHERRY VALLEY – Reunion Power, LLC, the company that has been developing a wind farm in Cherry Valley, announced last week that it will exclusively focus its local efforts on the East Hill Wind Farm. Reunion Power, which already has a meteorological tower erected on East Hill, was also pursuing a project on Cape Wycoff.
“After careful review and many discussions with community residents, we decided not to pursue development of the Cape Wycoff ridge,” said David Little, project manager for Reunion Power. “The fundamentals for a favorable project on the East Hill are all there, including wind that can knock you over and excellent transportation and transmission access. The East Hill is truly unique with regards to its wind and project characteristics,” Little added.
Marion Trieste, a spokesperson for Reunion Power, said, in light of the community’s opposition to the project, pulling out of Cape Wycoff is the right thing to do. “We want the community’s support,” Trieste said. “There’s so many historic and preservation issues on that ridge. There’s quite a bit of support on East Hill.”
However, Andrew Minnig, a resident of East Hill, said the opposition to the East Hill project has been tremendous. “If you come up East Hill, you will see signs against windmills posted everywhere,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that the majority of residents are against this project.”
Minnig is the vice president of the Advocates for Cherry Valley, a group of residents who oppose wind power in the town. Minnig wondered why Reunion Power was being considerate to opposition to Cape Wycoff but not East Hill. “Apparently, they feel our landscape is less important than that of Cape Wycoff,” Minnig said. “And while their sensitivity to community concerns extends as far south as Cooperstown, they do not extend east enough to encompass the hill where the vast majority of residents are vigorously opposed to turbines in their midst.”
Trieste responded by saying the East Hill project has the support of “the community at large. It’s unfortunate for those people that live there that don’t support it, but the majority of the people do,” Trieste said.
Lynn Marsh, president of the Advocates for Cherry Valley, said her group does not feel too secure about Reunion Power’s withdrawal from Cape Wycoff. “Our enthusiam is parsed because we know Reunion Power is not the only company out there,” she said.
The Cherry Valley Wind Farmers, a group of land owners on Cape Wycoff, have solicited offers from a few other companies, according to a September issue of Windustry, a national publication on the wind industry.
John Fila, one of the Cherry Valley Wind Farmers, was quoted as saying, “once organized, we felt in total control throughout the process, armed with the knowledge that we were the ones positioned to say, ‘take it or leave it,’ knowing that four or five other developers were waiting and anxious to jump in and negotiate the right to develop our wind park.”
Kermit Fassett is one of the Cherry Valley Wind Farmers and said Fila has contacted “two or three other companies.” Fassett said he didn’t know if those companies had expressed any interest, and he did not know how to contact Fila, who resides in Cherry Valley part-time.
The East Hill Wind Farm, located approximately three miles east of the village of Cherry Valley, will include up to 24 turbines, which, according to Reunion Power, could produce enough electricity to power over 31,000 New York households, approximately 1.5 times the number of households in Otsego County.
Sue Miller, Cherry Valley historian, supports the concept of a wind farm on East Hill and the decision to not develop the Cape Wycoff ridge. “An East Hill wind farm will support our community’s need for alternative sources of power without losing the historical integrity we treasure,” she said.
Mary Beth Flint, president of Otsego Neighbors for a Clean Environment (ONCE), a clean energy advocacy group based in Cherry Valley, also feels this decision is in Cherry Valley’s best interest.
“We applaud and support Reunion’s decision to focus on the East Hill,” Flint said. “Cape Wykoff’s inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places and view impacts to Otsego Lake down to Cooperstown would have posed problems for the community. We have long known that the best wind and location for a wind project is on the East Hill.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding