July 05, 2006

Wind Power for EPCAL?

Yet another proposal for Enterprise Park at Calverton has crossed the desk of the Riverhead Town Board.

A German-based company is proposing to construct a wind park on town property.

Representatives from Wind Park Solutions were at town hall last Friday to present their renewable energy proposal to the town board.

Their project calls for the purchase or lease of at least 65 acres from the town at market value. The company would construct 13, 330-foot tall wind towers.

According to Chris Kent, the town's deputy supervisor, the acres needed for the property would not be contiguous. Because of the town's zoning ordinance as it relates to fall zones, the wind towers must be built throughout EPCAL. Each tower, said Kent, requires five acres of land.

The power generated from the wind towers, said Kent, would be available to any business located at EPCAL with the remaining power to be sold to the Long Island Power Authority.

Each tower, according to Wild Park Solutions representatives, generates four to five megawatts.

Five years new, Wind Park Solutions has already constructed four wind parks. Three of those projects were built in Germany and one in Judith Gap in Montana, which features 90 wind towers that produce 180 megawatts — enough energy to power 500 homes. That project was built at a cost of $180 million. The company is also on the verge of commencing projects in France, Scotland, the Czech Republic, and in Montana.

"I think it is a neat idea," said Kent, of Wind Park Solutions' EPCAL proposal. "It is something that we will pursue further with them."

Riverhead Supervisor Phil Cardinale agreed that renewable energy is always a good idea. But he does not think the company came prepared to the meeting. He said, "It was an intriguing proposal, but it is not ready for prime time."

For example, Cardinale said the representatives were not sure where they want to place their turbines at EPCAL.

Cardinale is also not so sure, given the price of land at EPCAL, that renewable energy in the form of wind towers will be profitable for the company.

Instead, Cardinale said he would support a project such as one that is being proposed off Plum Island. That proposal calls for wind turbines to be built on floating barges.

Something like that, said Cardinale, won't require the purchase of expensive land and won't restrict views since the wind turbines can be located 12 to 20 miles off shore.

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