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Middle Smithfield Township considers own wind energy

The answer to whether Middle Smithfield Township will generate its own electricity atop a 1,150-foot ridge is still blowing in the wind, township Supervisor Scott Schaller says.

North Wind Measurement, based in Northport, Mich., has contracted with the township to conduct wind velocity tests on property Middle Smithfield owns at Country Club of the Poconos. The company placed meteorological equipment there in May, and data is being forwarded to company officials for analysis.

The township is paying North Wind a little more than $6,000 to do the wind study, to be used in determining whether the township places one or more wind turbines there to serve municipal and perhaps some residential electrical needs.

“When we get those readings together we will decide whether to put generators up there,” Schaller said. “It appears they are very good readings thus far.”

GreenSky Technologies, an alternative energy company whose principals include original Country Club of the Poconos landowner William “Dee” Rake, will receive township payment representing 15 percent of fees paid to North Wind. GreenSky approached the township shortly after it formed last year, presenting itself as a broker that could bring alternative energy to the township.

The township is under no additional obligation to work with GreenSky, Schaller said. If the wind readings determine it’s feasible to place electrical generators on the ridge, the township will put out a request this fall for companies to submit proposals.

The township could install one generator which might produce enough power to meet all municipal needs, he said. If additional generators are feasible, the township could consider selling power back to the utility and use proceeds to lower residential electric bills.

If feasible, the township would have to decide whether to operate the wind generators, or lease the site to a company that would assume the risk of making the project work.