2009-11-19 / News

Ft. Getty site endorsed for wind turbine

By Phil Zahodiakin

The Jamestown Wind Energy Committee this week voted to recommend Ft. Getty as the island’s most suitable location for a wind turbine. All six committee members who attended the Nov. 17 meeting supported Ft. Getty over Taylor Point, which was the only other site still in the running.

One of the three absent panelists was Robert Bowen, who resigned his seat earlier that day, presumably because he had just become a member of the Town Council. The resolution adopted by the panel will note that the committee “would support a turbine at the Taylor Point site if that is what the council selects,” but the rest of the resolution will be unequivocally supportive of a 2-megawatt turbine at Ft. Getty.

The panel did not evaluate the pros and cons of a smaller, 800- kilowatt turbine at either of the two sites, having decided that a larger turbine makes the most sense. An 800-kilowatt turbine would produce a volume of electricity equal to, or slightly more than, all the electricity drawn by town buildings. A 2-megawatt turbine would produce a saleable surplus, providing the town with a “windfall” if the price of natural gas jumped substantially, committee member William Smith said.

The only potential edge that Taylor Point has over Ft. Getty is a reduced cost for connecting a turbine to the electrical grid. But a Ft. Getty turbine would still be more profitable because “there’s no question that there’s more wind at Ft. Getty,” said Committee Chairman Donald Wineberg, who also said that “aesthetics matter – and the aesthetics of a turbine at Ft. Getty are better.”

Conversely, several panelists noted that motorists heading west on, or exiting, the Pell Bridge could be distracted by turbine blades spinning over Taylor Point, where the existing infrastructure – including the sewage treatment plant – would preclude the addition of any additional turbines. The Ft. Getty site affords room for a second turbine without adversely affecting the campers, committee member Clayton Carlisle observed.

Once reviewed by everyone on the panel, the resolution will be mailed to the Town Council. It will note that another benefit of the Ft. Getty site is the option of burying all of the power lines serving Ft. Getty – including those on Ft. Getty Road – which is yet another of the many Ft. Getty advantages enumerated by the committee.

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