Wind Power for Sullivan County

(#282) – The 2-year study of wind power in Sullivan County is nearly complete.  Here is a summary of the report which provides specific detail on 2 potential project sites, a county-owned and a privately owned wind site.

The county-owned site is the Health and Family Services Complex in Liberty. A single 2 megawatt wind turbine that can provide 4,580,000 watts of electricity is recommended.  It would provide all of the electrical needs of the site plus make more than a million watts of electricity available through new remote net metering opportunities to offset other county electrical costs such as the Government Center.

The wind install cost is $5,192,000 with a 12-year payback and savings of $1,600,000.

This site received a 100% funded 50 kw solar electric system that began producing clean power in August 2012 and will save $236,000 over the next 20 years.  Plans are being designed for creating a Community Energy District to include not only wind and solar, but also wood and grass fuel furnaces, as well as geo-thermal technology that harvests the heat in the lake by the Adult Care Center and air source pumps for cooling all of the buildings powered by the electricity from solar and wind power. An educational office that explains and demonstrates how this site is powered without use of fossil fuels at substantial savings to taxpayers and environmental benefits is also part of the plan for this site. The wind turbine and other aspects of the Community Energy District may be submitted for Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council funding.

The second site is a small wind farm of 4 megawatts on privately owned land. While the report only covers 4 megawatts of power – enough power to power 800-1000 homes, this could be a much larger wind project.  In contrast to the county-owned wind turbine where all power is consumed at the site of production, the small wind farm would sell all power to the regional grid.  Several ownership models are described including private-municipal partnerships.  The cost of the small wind farm is $11,000,000 with a 7-year payback and a savings of $5,540,000 over 20 years.

The purpose of this wind feasibility study, 100% funded by the USDA office of Rural Development and garnered and managed by the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, was to investigate wind resources and provide a template for developing many wind projects in Sullivan County and areas around the nation that have similar attributes. Municipalities and private land owners and wind development companies have complete access to all of the information necessary for site selection and turbine selection, permitting requirements, project development, power production and project finance options.  This report will save tens of thousands of dollars and up to a year of planning time to any party interested in developing wind power.

In the course of developing these relatively large scale wind project designs, expertise was also gained on smaller wind systems. Copies of the Report will be available in February, 2013.  See this column for date and source.

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