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Turbines in the willows on Ball Hill to reach 56  

Credit:  By NICOLE GUGINO OBSERVER Staff Writer, The OBSERVER, www.observertoday.com 27 September 2011 ~~

HANOVER – The discussion of wind turbines in the town of Hanover swept through the town board meeting on Monday eve-ning.

Representatives from Duke Energy attended the board meeting to present on the proposed Ball Hill Wind Project.

Mark Sweeney, Duke Energy’s attorney from Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP in Albany, told the board there have been some “slight” changes to the project since it changed hands from Noble Energy, Inc.

He first presented the company’s application to the town board and explained how the project got to where it is today.

He said that Noble started the process in 2008 with the towns of Villenova and Hanover and had proposed 60, 389-foot wind turbines be built in the towns, with more situated in Villenova but the transmission line running through Hanover.

He explained that same basic layout is the same but the new proposal is for 56 wind turbines but with slightly more megawatts, or million watts, which would increase the turbine’s maximum height from 389-feet to 427-feet due to a larger rotor. He said nine of the 56 turbines will be in Hanover, south of Route 39.

When asked by Councilman Fritz Seegert what the effect of the increased size of the rotors on noise would be Sweeney said that there would be a noise assessment as part of the SEQRA process but generally it is quieter.

Seegert also asked about the affects on bats and birds, the life of the wind farm and who would pay for decommissioning of the wind farm.

Sweeney said impacts on wildlife is also studied in the SEQRA process, the life of a wind farm is about 20 years if the technology is not replaced and in the town’s law there is a requirement that the company must have a bond available in case the company cannot pay for decommissioning the site.

Sweeney went on to explain how the next steps are to go through the SEQRA process, where Villenova is the lead agency on the project and will consider the project before associated agencies, like Hanover, are able to consider the project under their own WECS law.

Legislator George Borrello asked Sweeney if the company was depending on federal green tax credits to fund the project and if the energy generated from the farm would be sold at a price higher than the market price.

Sweeney explained that Duke Energy is paying for the project and that the green credits help to offset the higher price to produce the green energy so it can be sold at market price along with other sources of energy.

Later Borrello expressed his deep concern for the quality of life and property value of residents. He and other residents also expressed a need to have a definite bond or fund for decommissioning.

Sweeney along with environmental specialists from Duke Energy will also be available for questions at the public information meeting in the Forestville Middle/High School Auditorium today from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

In other business:

A bid from Guarcello’s Inc for a boiler for the sewer plant for $27,925 was accepted by the board. Water and Sewer Supervisor said the project will cost just over $30,000 when $36,000 was budgeted for the project.

Ronald Raczka was reappointed to the assessment board of review for a 5-year term.

The town was determined to be eligible for funding from FEMA for reinforcement of a bank of Parson’s Pond which borders water, sewer and utility lines. The town will soon apply for the 50 percent funding of the project.

The next town board meeting will be held on Oct. 11 in observance of Columbus Day.

Source:  By NICOLE GUGINO OBSERVER Staff Writer, The OBSERVER, www.observertoday.com 27 September 2011

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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