Siting wind farms requires plan

Recently, there has been significant interest in wind energy development in New York. Although the growth of the wind industry is welcomed by many in New York, local authorities and residents should be concerned about existing or anticipated proposals from wind energy developers interested in installing projects within their geographical regions.

Wind energy is an important renewable energy source. However, it is important to have a comprehensive plan for siting these high-tech wind facilities across New York state, in order to avoid any negative impacts upon surrounding areas.

I have recently introduced legislation, S.4608, which seeks to study the need for a statewide comprehensive plan for siting wind facilities. Additionally, this bill would place an 18 month moratorium on any new construction or issuing of new permits for the construction of wind energy facilities, to enable the task force to complete its study and make recommendations.

Modern wind turbines stand anywhere from 200 to 400 feet tall.

Projects such as this can have a major impact on the surrounding area.

Wind energy production facilities have the potential of causing a significant negative impact on the scenic and historic character of neighboring local communities.

If one town chooses to have wind farms but the neighboring town chooses not to, the neighboring town could have all of the negative impacts with none of the revenue. Furthermore, wind energy facilities could have a detrimental impact upon entire regions, like the Finger Lakes, or pathways for migrating birds.

I am not opposed to any responsible use of wind energy or any other alternative energy sources. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, my concerns are to protect neighboring communities from the proliferation of wind farms which benefit local towns but could possibly impact entire regions- economically, as well as environmentally.

Sen. James S. Alesi is from Monroe County and represents the 55th District.