PORTER – The town board is seeking bids to complete a project constructing four, reduced size wind turbines funded through a federal grant.
Approximately $320,000 was made available to the town after it was awarded the grant two years ago. But town officials didn’t immediately use the money before Councilman Joseph Fleckenstein questioned the board’s lack of action on the project.
“We’re out of time on this one, folks,” he said. “We’ve been working on these windmills for two years.”
The plan is to construct two windmills at the town garage, while placing another two on town-owned property along Balmer Road, near the water tower. But the project must be completed before a March deadline, or the money goes back into the pool where it came from, lost to the town unless it applies for the grant and wins the award again.
Fleckenstein said the likelihood of receiving the grant again would be low, so it is important to move the project forward.
Tuesday’s vote moved the project into its next phase, authorizing Supervisor Merton K. Wiepert to ask for bids to construct the wind turbines. Fleckenstein’s intention, he said, is to have bids ready to open at the town’s next regular board meeting on Nov. 14.
It is estimated the turbines, when completed, could reduce the town’s energy footprint by as much as 50 percent, he said.
The turbines proposed for the project are not the massive, three-bladed structures that have been built in other communities, including Warsaw, N.Y. and along Lake Erie south of Buffalo, Fleckenstein said.
In other town board news, a special meeting has been called for 9 a.m. Thursday. The town’s preliminary budget will be discussed.
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