The superintendent of the Riverhead sewer district, Michael Reichel, has proposed erecting a wind turbine tower that would rise up 270 feet from the district’s treatment plant off Riverside Drive, just west of Rte. 105.
Outlining his proposal at Thursday’s town board work session, he said the structure could meet 70 percent of the heavy power demands his district faces at no cost to district taxpayers once a 14-year, approximately $1.6 million bond to pay for the structure is paid off.
To cover debt servicing, Reichel said that in the first year of the bond being issued, there would be a tax increase of 43 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value for homes in the district, which equates to an increase of $21 for an average house assessed at $50,000
The increases, Reichel explained, would then decline every year and stand at only two cents for each $1,000 of assessed value in the fifth year. After that, he said, the turbine would be cash positive, allowing the district to lower energy-related taxes.
In August, Reichel, working with a company called the Neutral Power Group, erected a tower 170-foot tower housing a wind meter to measure the velocity of winds at the site to determine whether a wind turbine would make sense at that location. The test, he said, proved that it would.
According to Reichel, the closest home to the proposed tower site – a house on River Ave. on the road leading to the district’s treatment plant – is 800 feet away. He said that the tower itself would be 170 feet in height, with turbine blades extending upward another 100 feet.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she likes the idea, not only for the money it would ultimately save, but for the environmentally responsibility aspect of the tower. A resolution calling for a public hearing on the tower will be voted on at the next town board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m.
Supervisor Sean Walter said that the town is under pressure from the Department of Environmental Conservation to upgrade its sewer treatment plant at Enterprise Park in Calverton and that perhaps a bond authorization for the $18 million needed for the upgrade could be included in the same bond authorization.
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