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Noble ready to take down unfinished wind towers

While work was stalled at the Noble Environmental Power wind park in Bellmont back in 2008, landowners with unfinished remnants of it may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

The company has applied for a decommissioning, which essentially means it will be required to remove all 14 of the concrete bases and service pads and restore the land to the way it was before officials stepped foot on it, according to Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell on Wednesday.

“It’s a very involved process,” he said.

The concrete – above and below the ground – has to be removed as part of what’s involved with decommissioning.

“All of that has to be disposed of in a safe manner,” Russell said.

He added that the holes where the bases and pads were have to be filled in with the same subsoil that currently exists on the land along with the top soil.

Anyone concerned about the process or who has questions can attend an informational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 3 at the Bellmont town offices in Brainardsville.
Russell said Bellmont officials will be there along with ones from Noble as well.

Work on the proposed wind park came to a halt about five years ago, according to past reports. Russell said Wednesday that it had to do with finances for the project.

What was going to happen with the unfinished park has been up in the air since 2008. In 2010, Chateaugay officials received a letter from Noble that said while it would not be building an additional 13-tower park there to add to the existing 71 turbines, it did plan to continue with the Bellmont park after “the economy improves,” according to past reports.

Had the wind park been successfully installed, the town of Bellmont would have received around $125,000 to $140,000 annually for a certain number of years, according to Russell, who said it could have been used for town improvements, such as road work or other projects.

Russell said nearby municipalities have had multiple benefits from collecting funds from completed wind parks within their borders.

He noted that Chateaugay has been able to use some of that money for town hall improvements, including revitalizing the theater there.

Chateaugay Supervisor Don Bilow said Friday that the town will receive about $400,000 each year for 20 years from Noble, which started around five years ago.

He said that with the money, the town has been able to reduce property taxes and eliminate town general fund taxes all together.

“We built a salt and sand building at the [town] garage,” Bilow said, adding that new equipment was purchased for the town garage and fund upgrades for the Chateaugay Recreation Park.

“It has been a great benefit,” Bilow said.

Bilow added that he’s surprised that Noble would spend the money to begin working on a wind turbine farm considering the cost it takes to build one.

Past reports indicate that Noble spent $212 million to build the 71-turbine Chateaugay wind farm.