STOW – A local resident is in the process of having a wind turbine installed on his property.
The North Harmony Zoning Board heard Joshua Brown’s request for a special-use permit to install a 10-kilowatt Bergey Windpower Company Excel 10 wind turbine at his 3840 Morris Road residence. The turbine’s height stands at 153.8 feet above the foundation surface, which was one of the main issues discussed since it slightly exceeds the 150-foot regulation.
George McConochie, chief operations officer for Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. out of Rochester, spoke to the zoning board on the specifics regarding the turbine while answering questions presented throughout the hearing. The company engages in projects related to renewable energy including wind and solar. McConochie explained that the company has been hired to conduct the permitting process, design and installation of the project. SED was also involved in the same process with Peter and Kathy Wiemer’s wind turbine in 2008, which he explained is a similar project but not the same tower. The difference between the two is that the Wiemers’ tower is a guide lattice, which is smaller and has guide wires. Brown’s tower is a free-standing lattice with a wide base and no guide wires.
“The nice thing about it is that even though it has a wider base, it takes up a smaller footprint and allows the land to remain in use,” he said.
Regarding the height, the turbine needs to be 153.8 feet in receiving sufficient winds, according to McConochie.
“The reason why you would put a wind turbine like this on a residence is because it makes economic sense,” he said. “You really need to get up where the wind is above the trees in order to get a good flow of wind which is going to translate itself into electricity.”
The turbine’s life span is anywhere from 20 to 25 years, according to McConochie. Bergey, a company based out of Oklahoma, first started making the machine in the early 1980s. McConochie noted the company’s strong track record manufacturing small wind turbines.
“There are a lot of wind turbines these days that are designed to last five or 10 years, and they’re cheap,” he said.
McConochie also addressed what would occur once the turbine’s life span is reached. He explained that the machine is owned by a leasing company. The turbine can be repowered since the tower is made of steel and concrete- lasting indefinitely.
“From a wind turbine specialist’s perspective, you would normally repower it,” he said. “You would put another turbine on that same tower.”
He also addressed questions from the board regarding impacts to birds, which he said would not affect them. On a wind farm, he explained that the land in which many turbines are installed is a large-swept area as opposed to one turbine. From his experience in the field, McConochie has received no calls or issues by turbine owners regarding the matter. He also addressed specifics to the board pertaining to wiring, inspection after the completion of the project, signage and safety.
After going through the State Environmental Quality Review and the zoning code, Brown received approval to proceed with installing the wind turbine on his property.
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