New study proves Sullivan’s wind power

A new study completed by Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. (SED) has found that Sullivan County possesses “a medium to strong wind resource” that could generate 336 megawatts of electricity if six utility-scale wind farm projects identified in the study are developed.

Further, the study, released May 11, identifies 12 smaller-scale projects that could save an estimated $300,000 to $1,800,000 each over 25 years.

The study was produced through funding from the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Community Development, which received authority from the county legislature.

The six potential utility-scale wind farm project sites are: Lily Pond, located between Livingston Manor and the Neversink Reservoir; Thunder Hill, located three miles east of the Neversink Reservoir; Monticello-Forestburgh; Revonah Hill in Liberty; Livingston Manor by Delilah Road; and Callicoon-Fremont.

In the Northeast, “The potential for job creation as a result of the growth of the wind industry would be comparable to booms experienced by the automobile industry in the early 20th century or the computer industry of the 1990s,” the study argues.

Kevin Schulte, SED’s vice president of consulting, said the study “probably shows more potential for wind energy in the county than will ever be developed,” but investors are currently looking at projects that might not be approved until 2008 or 2009.

The study states that utility-scale wind power “will help meet the goals of Sullivan 2020,” a project undertaken by the staff at the county’s planning division.

“Keeping younger generations in the county is a goal that is not well supported by the current economy. Commercial wind development will diversify the county’s economy and produce quality employment,” the study argues.

Further, “The relatively new nature of the modern wind industry will mark the county as being a progressive and active participant in shaping the United States’ future.

“For residential locations wind power can offer: a valuable hedge against the volatility of retail electricity prices; the satisfaction and independence of on-site power generation; as well as the benefit of offsetting the pollution generated by traditional fuel-based electricity production.”

The study provides analyses of economic considerations related to each potential project, lays out complications that could arise if the projects are proposed by investors, and suggests marketing strategies.

“The county’s rural atmosphere/open space and environmental quality are among the most appreciated aspects and should stay that way. Both of these issues may be misconstrued to produce a negative vision of wind power development,” the study states.

“However, commercial wind development must be viewed as an option to creating positive economic benefits for the county Ö Utility-scale wind turbines will provide the county and residents with income, jobs and with a tangible method of preserving the environmental quality they so cherish.”

Empowering Sullivan

By CHARLIE BUTERBAUGH

Their name indicates concern for Sullivan County’s environment, and their desire to keep the landscape green is unmistakable, but members of a new alliance take an angle on preservation that, if successful, will also bring new industry to the county.

One of the alliance’s priorities, “the manufacture and use of renewable technologies,” has reaped support from a new study showing strong potential for wind-generated power in Sullivan County. The alliance has partnered with Ted Pilonero, president of Innovative Metal Products Inc. in Monticello, who is exploring an alternative market for his business: manufacturing towers for wind turbines.

The first public meeting of the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) drew about 80 people to the Sullivan County Museum in Hurleyville on May 26, including residents, farmers, conservation leaders and several public officials.

Mountaindale resident Alex Schafran, a community development specialist and member of SASD, described the group as “an organization of your friends and neighbors” working for economic development, environmental preservation and the enhancement of Sullivan County’s main streets.

“Change in Sullivan County is necessary. Change is inevitable,” Schafran said, adding that in the midst of growth the county must present an economic model that appeals to young people who grow up here and seek college education elsewhere.

“In order to make that happen, we need to come together and share the good ideas that are out there,” he said.

Schafran is currently writing an economic development plan for the county, a project that has fostered collaboration between SASD and the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Community Development.

Central to SASD’s plan to facilitate a transition from reliance on fossil fuels to investment in renewable energies in Sullivan County is the economic value of doing so: money saved by reducing the county’s energy expenses could be reinvested in its development.

In its pursuit of a new economic model “based on projects that are socially and environmentally responsible,” SASD has invited the participation of county organizations such as the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Sullivan Renaissance.

“What we can achieve collectively can be as big or as little as we can dream and work to implement,” the group’s mission statement explains.

SASD has also tapped into the perspectives of local artists.

Carol Smith of Swan Lake encouraged the group to be open to the creative process at last Thursday’s meeting. “Artists are very much like wind: they’re very valuable yet under-utilized,” Smith said.

SASD plans to acquire assets and partners in order to promote jobs that pay living wages and work in the natural environment’s favor, said Dick Riseling, a member of the group and owner of Apple Pond Farm.

“We have to act and live in such a way so as we’re part of the solution, not the problem,” he said. “There has to be a real cultural revolution here.”

Riseling said, “The group definitely has an aspiration to be something different and something very real.”

With technical assistance from Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. (SED) of Delanson, NY, Riseling installed a 10-kilowatt wind turbine at his farm in Callicoon Center two years ago, and ever since SED has been researching the potential for wind-generated electricity in Sullivan County.

SASD is in the process of incorporating as a non-profit. The group will hold a meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Reflections Bed and Breakfast in Forestburgh, 1107 Plank Road. New members are welcome.

College to host annual energy seminar

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — Energy Solutions for Small Business and Agriculture, a free seminar hosted by Sullivan County Community College (SCCC), will take place Tuesday, June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the college’s Seelig Theatre. Experts will provide information on high-performance design, energy-efficient lighting and controls, geothermal, small-wind and photovoltaic energy systems, and technical and financial support options.

• 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. — Forum for builders and developers with Robert Gardella, CSG, on Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.

• 8:30 to 9:00 — Registration, continental breakfast and introductions by SCCC President Mamie Howard-Golladay.

• 9:15 to 9:45 am — What is a high performance building and how can it save money?

• 9:45 to 10:30 — Lighting and lighting controls with Sandy McCardell of Current-c Energy Systems, Inc.

• 10:45 to 11:15 — Small commercial buildings with Ed Smyth of RLW Analytics.

• 11:15 to 11:45 — Wind power opportunities in Sullivan County with Kevin Schulte of Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc.

• 11:45 to 12:00 — NYSERDA funding opportunities for farms, new construction, renovation and existing buildings.

Energy Solutions for Small Business and Agriculture

• 12:45 to 1:30 — Building envelope/insulation business partner.

• 1:30 to 2:15 — Geothermal at SCCC: case study presented by Brad Fischer, P.E. of Friedman Fisher Associates, and George Amaral, SCCC facility manager.

• 2:15 to 2:50 — High-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning with Michael Sherber, PE, of Lenz Engineering.

• 2:50 to 3:20 — Photovoltaics with John Calhoun, P.E.

3:45 to 4:15 — George Amaral’s tour of campus geothermal system.

For more information call 845/321-2238 or visit sullivan.suny.edu.

TRR photo by Charlie Buterbaugh
Dick Riseling addresses the audience at the first public meeting of the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development. (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Charlie Buterbaugh
Alex Schafran describes a growth that must present an economic model that appeals to young people who grow up here and seek college education elsewhere. (Click for larger version)