Big Wind Blows Into Brighton

ISLAND POND - With strong local opposition to the construction of wind farms and/or “demonstration” projects in Orleans County, what will be the reaction to residents of Brighton, Newark and Ferdinand about the proposed wind farm by energy development company Eolian Renewable Energy LLC?Eolian filed for a Certificate for Public Good on April 12, proposing the construction of four wind testing towers. One of the 185-foot towers will be located in the town of Ferdinand, one in Newark and two will be located in Brighton. The testing period will be for five years, although Eolian can begin the process for approval of 12-25 towers sited in these towns.Eolian Renewable Energy is currently researching to determine if the various sites are suitable for the construction of a wind farm.Representatives of Eolian have met with the Brighton Select Board on two occasions, both informally, to present information about the project and to address more specific questions.Town of Brighton Administrative Assistant Joel Cope said the next step is for a warned public hearing by the select board to get community input into the proposed wind development project. The select board has not yet made a decision as to their next step in the process.Eolian also has one project underway in New Hampshire and two in Maine, in early stages of development.Based in Portsmouth, NH, Eolian is owned by Jack and Drew Kenworthy, who started the company several years ago. The project has a co-partnership with Nordex USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Nordex Energy GmbH, an international energy conglomerate. Nordex is a manufacturer of utility scale wind turbines and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.The Essex County wind project has the potential to generate 100 MW of power if 25 turbines are constructed, similar to the energy production estimated for First Wind's wind farm in Sheffield. That's assuming the wind towers are working 30% of the time, and Eolian is able to construct 25 towers.On the official Eolian company web site there is mention of financial reimbursement for the three towns in which the wind farm will be located. Each town may receive approximately $25,000 per turbine a year while the wind farm is in operation. First Wind pays the Town of Sheffield $520,000 each year and will do so for 20 years, the expected life of the wind towers.Currently, the Eolian project is in the initial stages, which includes collecting technical information about the site's capacity to produce wind as well as community outreach and education.