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NYSERDA extends on-site wind turbine incentive program

by jmaloni
Mon, May 9th 2011 01:45 pm

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in response to a record number of applications received for its wind incentive program for homeowners, farmers, businesses and municipalities, has announced it is expanding the funding availability for another six months and added another $1.4 million in incentive dollars.

NYSERDA has offered this program in several variations since 2008 in an effort to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. This current version is on track to be the most popular ever - 33 applications have been received since the program was announced in October, more than any similar period in the past.

The program helps qualified property owners install wind turbines to generate electricity, which diversifies New York's energy sources and expands the use of clean, renewable energy in the state. It will provide funding to support approximately 30 percent of the purchase and installation costs.

Recently approved "on-site" projects include wind turbines at two farms in Columbia County, three farms in Genesee County, a realty office in Monroe County and five projects in Oswego County, including a town water district.

Locally, the Town of Porter remains in the application process for wind turbines under consideration for Porter Town Hall and the town highway department. Both projects remain under review by the Porter Town Board.

NYSERDA has provided $3.6 million in incentives, leveraging an additional $5.2 million in private investment in residential-based wind power. The projects so far have made it possible for 43 residences, 40 farms, three schools, four businesses, two not-for-profit, and a town to create clean energy and use less energy from the grid.

"Wind power helps us increase the amount of energy we create from clean energy sources and supports economic development," said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. "NYSERDA's support of wind energy helps create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase our energy security."

The systems installed so far are expected to generate more than 1.7 megawatt-hours annually, enough electricity to power 260 single-family homes for a year. The systems are also expected to reduce total energy costs for participants by more than $240,000 each year.

The program provides incentives for systems up to 600 kilowatt per site, not to exceed $400,000 per site.

One recently installed project is in the Town of Richland, located north of Syracuse near Lake Ontario. The town was looking to install a 100-kilowatt turbine - with a blade diameter of 70 feet -- to power its water district and cut costs. A $96,000 NYSERDA incentive helped defray the cost of the $471,000 system.

"We wanted to go green," said Supervisor Ron Crandall. "And we wanted to try to reduce our cost to the customers of the water district. One of the biggest costs in producing water is power."

Other on-site wind turbine projects in the area include:

•Me T Farms, Ransomville, Niagara County - $37,000 NYSERDA investment.

•Wayne Phelps Enterprises, Bascom, Genesee County - $156,000 NYSERDA investment.

•Ledge Farm, Bascom, Genesee County - $154,000 NYSERDA investment.

•Thorndale Livestock, Batavia, Genesee County - $37,500 NYSERDA investment.

•CuPerk Realty, Henrietta, Monroe County - $35,000 NYSERDA investment.

To determine whether wind power is appropriate for a specific location, New Yorkers can use "Small windExplorer", (http://nyswe.awstruepower.com), an online resource available to consumers and installers. The site features average annual wind speeds and estimated annual energy output of wind systems for a specific location. It will be used by installers and NYSERDA to help guide on-site wind development throughout the state. Developed by AWS TruePower in Albany for NYSERDA, users of the windExplorer can download a wind resource report for an exact location, which will help determine if a project is economically feasible.

Funding for the Customer-Sited Wind Turbine Incentive program is provided through the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The RPS is a program funded by ratepayers and power producers that invests in clean-energy power production around the state. Funding amounts available for this program are determined by the Public Service Commission.

For more information, visithttp://www.nyserda.org/Funding/2097PON.asp.

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