Morning Read: Towns look at new wind farm restrictions

Last month, a town in Jefferson County banned wind farms, as our David Sommerstein reported.

The town of Henderson, on the shore of eastern Lake Ontario in Jefferson County, has side-stepped future wind clashes. It’s become the first North Country town to ban all wind turbines – industrial ones, private ones, even wind test towers.

Now the Watertown Daily Times is reporting that the town of Hammond is considering restrictions on wind farms that would provide locals with new financial guarantees.

The board is considering a law proposed by the town’s wind committee that would require Iberdrola Renewables to compensate property owners who see drops in their land values because of the presence of wind turbines. The proposal also requires the company to buy out any property owner who objects to living near a turbine.

According to the article, Iberdrola is balking at the proposal.

In a letter to the town, Ibedrola senior counsel Mark Epstein told the town the company was “very surprised and disappointed” that the proposal made its way through the wind committee “without having the opportunity to discuss … fully documented evidence.”

So what do you think?  Are local governments bringing the proper level of skepticism and oversight to these projects?  Or are they stifling a promising new industry?

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9 Comments on “Morning Read: Towns look at new wind farm restrictions”

  1. TurdSandwich says:

    If this law passes, what would stop the assesor from dropping everyones property value on a whim? Why not, everyone would get a check including himself. Good Christmas bonus. Would this law also apply to horizontal turbines?

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  2. Mervel says:

    Stifling new industry in a county that really needs new industry and jobs.

    Sure everything has to be regulated including giant wind turbines. But the fact is Counties and towns in the North country should be competing to attract this industry not constantly putting up roadblocks. This is the kind of economic development we need.

    To me its nuts to sit around wringing our hands about the lack of jobs and the need for all of these economic development agencies to attract industry and at the same time banning new industries of the future.

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  3. BRFVolpe says:

    For decades since the 19th century, Tug Hill farmers cursed the wind. Driving across Rte. 177 over the years, we saw farm after farm collapse, as the constant wind and fierce weather stole their living. Now, the wind has become an asset to failed marginal farmers, as wind generators have replaced cows and crops. Wind can be a natural resource, town fathers!

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  4. KC says:

    It’s very simple. The foriegn developer says there won’t be any adverse effects from the wind turbines. Of course they do!!! They want their up front subsidy money and will be on their way once the projects are up. Do you think companies like Iberdrola, Acciona or British Petroleum really care about the community? They can’t afford to.

    The fact that the developer would maintain that there are no adverse effects from the turbines is a flat-out lie and an insult. How many real estate developers get a call from people saying, “Yes, do you have properties with a view of an industrial wind turbine complex?”

    So, when asked to put their money where their mouth is, they balk because they know there will be negative effects. It’s common sense, plain and simple. However, I would expect nothing less from the likes of British Petroleum and Iberdrola.

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  5. tootightmike says:

    I have family in coal country in Ohio. The destruction and devastation to the landscape is mind boggling, leaving thousands of acres looking like a lunar landscape. By contrast, when I drive through a big wind development, I see crops and hayfields, cows and tractors, and a farmstead able to afford new buildings and equipment for the first time in decades.
    No one believes that a wind farm is as pretty as an undisturbed lake-shore, or a pristine hillside, but that’s not the proper comparison. Look at the coal fields. Smell the oilfields. Taste the water in gas country…Wind and hydro power aren’t perfect, but if you want to keep the lights on, and drive your damned car everywhere, there will have to be energy developement.

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  6. KC says:

    Don you know that no amount of wind energy will effect how much coal we burn? It’s a common, very common misconception. Uneducated people on the topic insist that it will, arguing, how could it not?? The problem is the technology of wind. There is no way to store the energy and no way to predict when the wind will come up and down. The challenge is the grid has to maintain a balance between supply and demand. When the wind comes up, you can’t just flip a switch and bring down a coal plant for a few hours, and then when the wind dies flip a switch and bring it back online. It doesn’t work that way. The grid needs to remove what is called “easily dispatchable” power from the grid and add it back when they need it – and quickly. The most easily dispatchable around here is Hydro power so that’s what they take offline.

    I couldn’t agree more that we need to work on clean air and less coal – it’s just that no amount of wind energy we invest in will serve that goal – no matter how badly we want it to.

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  7. Mervel says:

    I’d love to have BP come up here and do a development.

    To me this is about development and good jobs in one of the poorest counties in NYS and about relatively wealthy and in some cases extremely wealthy people who don’t want to lose a little property value on their million dollar properties and second homes in the thousand Islands.

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  8. Janet Grace says:

    Let’s ask what kind of efficiency wind power is producing! Wolfe Island,Ontario, has been decimated with a wind farm numbering 83 turbines – purported to power 75,000 homes in the Kingston area!! Wrong! This farm is running at 27% efficiency – not a drop in the bucket for power production! Let’s ask about jobs! 7 full time positions were created from this wind project, 6 in the field and (I believe) 1 secretarial/administrative. Of that number, less than half the job positions were filled by islanders. Let’s talk about real estate values! If you build a beautiful home in a pastoral location and then someone comes along and builds a railway track or a factory next door, do you suppose that your real estate values go down? Not only do they go down, they plummet or….they are unsaleable! Let’s talk about health – do wind turbines create health risks for those who live close by? Not according to the Provincial government! Strange that an international meeting, held in Prince Edward County this Fall, focused on exactly this issue. Health professionals from around the world submitted documented evidence that there are, indeed, health risks associated with locating turbines too close to people. Also strange that government representatives declined invitations to attend this meeting. Wind energy is a failed experiment, but one that is successfully lining the pockets of industry promoters, at the tax payers expense. Wake up Ontario! Look at the facts!

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  9. KC says:

    That is the typical class-war approach taken from page 93 right out of the developer playbook. The title of that chapter is: How to Split the community and blame it on the “rich and selfish”. NIMBYism is only one reason to object to wind energy, among many, many others. Wind energy is not economically feasible, technically sound, or environmentally responsible.

    If it actually created jobs, that might be one thing, but just look at the Wolfe Island development. 86 turbines. There’s hardly any permanant jobs. The Nice & Easy, down the street, creates more jobs, literally!

    And then you have to look at the other side of the coin. What will happen to the tourism once the industrialization takes over? No new housing starts and massive property devaluation. Not just for the summer cottage folks (many of whom are not weathly, as you claim, but have had the land handed down from generation to generation and can barely make the taxes), but also for the people out in the countryside. They will suffer the worst because they’ll be in the middle of the development. Any economic windfall quickly becomes a net loss for the community after you factor in the negatives, particularly for waterfront communities.

    Then you have the health impacts, and the effect on the environment. They don’t reduce CO2, they whack birds and bats, they don’t reduce our dependence on foreign oil. There are numerous studies that show this.

    If you’re wonder why communities aren’t competing for these projects, then I suggest you do some more research regarding the issues. They are both many and far-reaching.

    Have you seen the Economic Impact Reports done by the Towns of Orleans and Cape Vincent?

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