Wind farms sprout in western New York

Wyoming County in western New York has undergone quite a boom in wind turbine installation, as the county that has 43,000 people and 46,000 dairy cows is home to 67 wind turbines generating 100 megawatts of electricity, all of which is being fed into the national power grid. Noble Environmental Power, the company behind the turbines, plans to build 84 more wind turbines this year.  All told, it represents a $450 million investment for the company.

There appears to be quite a wind power boom in western New York, because, as Sherry Grugel, Noble’s western New York community outreach associate, says, Wyoming has “really, really great wind – probably the best overall in New York state.”

Noble looks for areas that have low population density and great wind – Wyoming County fits the bill.

Noble has signed easement rights agreements with many of the farmers in the county. Theese agreements allow Nobel to build turbines and access roads in exchange for payments of about $7,000 a year per turbine. In addition, payments that Noble has made to the town of Eagle have allowed Eagle to eliminate some of its taxes, which seems to have jumpstarted a small construction boom in the town.

Other companies that have projects planned in the western New York area include First Wind, Airtricity Inc. of Ireland, and Tonawanda Creek Wind LLC.

‘Cattle rancher Anthony George has one Noble wind turbine on his 75-acre farm in Eagle. The turbine sits about 1,500 feet from his home, and the noise is minor, George said.

“Today I can’t hear it at all,” he said, then added, “I don’t know if I’d want one sitting 1,000 feet from the house.”

But as they graze in the tower’s shadow on warm days, George said, “The cattle actually seem to like it.” ‘

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