A wind energy project proved an interesting discussion item at an otherwise routine Porter Town Board meeting Monday night.
The town moved on approving particulars on a NYCERTA-funded wind energy project, which, once final, will ultimately see energy producing wind turbines erected at Porter Town Hall and at the town Highway Department garage on Braley Road. Monday, board members approved authorizing Supervisor Mert Wiepert to sign a contract with NYCERTA to initiate requests for proposals for the wind turbines, but not before board members engaged in lively discussion on the number and kilowatt specs for the turbines.
Town Councilman Joe Fleckenstein opened with a resolution for the town to proceed with plans for two 10-kilowatt wind turbines at each site as per the NYCERTA grant language. Almost immediately, though, there appeared to be resistance among board members on the plan by Fleckenstein for the two 10-kilowatt turbines at each site versus an alternative of one 20-kilowatt turbine unit at each location.
Town Attorney Mike Dowd said that evening there was the option for one or the other.
Not exactly so, said Fleckenstein in a phone conversation this past week. "There's some manipulation going on," said Fleckenstein. "For some reason they are pushing for this."
Fleckenstein explained the town had already been approved for a NYCERTA grant of $350,000 for construction of two 10-kilowatt units at each site, with the grant specifying the two 10-kilowatt units built by the Berge Co. which specifically constructs them. He said he told board members that the two 10-kilowatt models offer greater energy efficiency. "You're going to lose 20 percent of your power by going with one 20-kilowatt versus two 10-kilowatts."
Additionally he argued that having two 10-kilowatt units would allow the town to still have one working if the other went down.
However, the board Monday was undaunted by his arguments. Dowd informed that NYCERTA has the option for modifying the grant to enable a single 20-kilowatt unit for each location and that it ultimately would need to approve the town's RFPs in order to get the projects under way.
On alternate resolutions offered by Councilman Larry White, the board went on to approve resolutions for the single 20-kilowatt turbine units, one for Town Hall, the other for the Highway Department garage. The votes were 4-1 on both resolutions, with Fleckenstein casting the lone "no" vote each time.
Fleckenstein echoed frustrations on the vote. "If the government is giving away free services, why aren't we taking advantage of this?" he asked of the already approved NYCERTA $350,000 package of two 10-kilowatt units for each location.
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