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Waddington panel to study renewable energy

WADDINGTON – With renewable energy technologies becoming more mainstream, the town of Waddington hopes to capitalize on the wave of change.

The Town Council will form a renewable energy work group that will study using renewable energy technologies to supplement town revenues.

The group’s first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Waddington Public Library, but no board members have been selected yet.

Town Supervisor Mark Scott said it will be a special town board meeting, but the hope is to find out what projects the community supports and how they can be implemented.

“It will be an official town board meeting, but it will be more of a community meeting. We want anyone who is interested in contributing to the project to join us,” he said.

Mr. Scott said one idea that has been floated is the installation of a hydro turbine in the St. Lawrence River. He said the turbines being considered would not have a geological impact on the river and high flows near Iroquois Dam make it an ideal location.

No topic will be taboo from discussion, including the often controversial wind power energy facilities. He said the work group may look into different sized towers and uses for wind power.

“One of the other ideas that may surface is wind energy. We’ll find out if there is interest from people to move forward with those types of projects,” he said. “Seeing that in other communities there has been opposition, we want to make sure we have full community support behind us.”

Mr. Scott said if wind power facilities are explored, he would like them to be owned by the community. He said one of the major goals of the energy work group will be to increase town revenues without increasing property taxes.

“If we do explore the options of commercial wind I think we should look toward community ownership. That way the community benefits. We need to find revenues for the town outside of property taxes. Right now it’s a losing battle,” he said.

Mr. Scott said he would like to see guests and presenters involved in other renewable energy initiatives across the county come to the meetings and share knowledge and concerns with the work group.

“We’ll be reaching out to people in other renewable energy projects. There are other groups who are working on projects and we want to learn all we can from them.”

Mr. Scott said he would like to see results from the meetings within the next few years. He acknowledges that the biggest hurdle will be finding investors, but said he remains hopeful that funding can be found if a solid plan is in place.

“I would like to see something started within a couple of years. A lot of these ideas have been floated around and it’s time to get something going,” he said. “As far as funding the project, we are going to be looking at funding from a number of sources. We know local taxpayers can’t foot the bill.”