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Hilltowns Archives —The Altamont Enterprise, July 24, 2008

Helderberg Wind Project moves forward

By Tyler Schuling

HILLTOWNS — This month, residents moved forward with a groundbreaking community project that could put three large windmills in the Hilltowns. 

On July 13, about 30 Hilltowns residents met at the Octagon Barn in Knox.  They decided to form either a limited liability company or a not-for-profit organization to begin the work of placing three 1.5-megawatt wind turbines in Knox along Middle Road back from roads and away from houses, according to Russell Pokorny. 

Pokorny and his wife own the Middle Road land and the Octagon Barn.  As part of the Helderberg Wind Project, a meteorological tower was raised on their land in the fall of 2006 to measure wind.  Bird and bat studies were also conducted. 

Another separate legal entity will have to be formed in the future when the ownership structure has been determined, Pokorny said in an email message to The Enterprise

“A critical goal of this project is to make the ownership community-based, so that local people will benefit from it,” said Pokorny.  He said a town or a school could profit from it and taxes could be lowered. 

At the July meeting, several committees were formed — budget and community outreach committees, another to act as a liaison to the town of Knox, one to research and compare LLCs and not-for-profits, and a committee to begin work on applying for a grant with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. 

Before wind turbines are raised, they must first be reviewed through the State Environmental Quality Review Act process.

Pokorny and his wife, Amy, use solar and wind power at their home in Knox.  They have been proponents of alternative energies and, during warmer months, host meetings on wind energy at their Octagon Barn. 

Last month, leaders of the Helderberg Wind Project held an informational meeting and presented results from a year-and-a-half study.

Those leaders — Loren Pruskowski of Sustainable Energy Developments, Kathleen Moore of Integrated Environmental Systems, and Dan Capuano of Hudson Valley Community College — are now acting as consultants. 

“We’re taking over,” said Pokorny.  “Now, they’re consultants to us, but we’re going to do [the work].” 

The next meeting on the project is scheduled to be held at the Octagon Barn in Knox on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.

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