Town tells Big Wind to “get lost” (New York)

Sep 7, 2010


Recommendations Report for Industrial Wind Power (9/1/10)

Rensselaerville, New York, Wind Study Committee

Overall Recommendation: Industrial Wind Power installations within the town of Rensselaerville should not be permitted.  Download the full report here.

The key reasons for these recommendations:

  • Industrial Wind Power is strongly out of alignment with the Town of Rensselaerville’s Comprehensive Plan. Note: This reason alone would be enough to justify a strong recommendation prohibiting them.
  • There are significant health, environmental, and safety concerns associated with Industrial Wind Power.
  • Albany County does not have the sustained high level of wind speed to make Industrial Wind Power viable for consistent energy production.
  • Citizens’ property values would be negatively affected.
  • On a cost-benefit basis, the income to the town would be minimal, while the costs to the quality of life would be disproportionately large. Also, the total costs to the Town in terms of time spent by the Town Board, town committees, town attorneys, Highway Superintendent, Code Enforcement Officer, and other town employee’s time would be large, and is often uncounted in the project’s life cycle costs.
  • Irreversible decision: Once Industrial Wind Turbines are installed, it would be practically impossible to remove them. Industrial Wind leases and easements give developers long term property control through long initial terms and option extensions: Shell Oil’s contract provides the developer with control for as long as 67 years from contract signing. Flat Rock Wind Power’s Amended and Restated lease for Tug Hill provides the developer with control for as long as 46 years. That would commit the town to these industrial installations for the equivalent of three generations.
  • The Town would likely lose control of its ability to independently negotiate with Wind Developers.
  • Even if the Town attempted to restrict Industrial Wind Power zoning to a small portion of the town, Wind Developers could challenge that zoning and quite possibly be successful in overturning it. It would be easier for a wind developer to successfully challenge a zoning restriction than a total prohibition based upon the comprehensive plan.

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