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Councilors Hear About Wind Power Proposal

OSWEGO, NY – The Port City’s economic future is up in the air.

On Monday night, Mayor Randy Bateman and the Common Council hosted representatives of Optiwind.

David Hurwitt, a VP with Optiwind, points to a map featuring the wind speeds in the Port City.
David Hurwitt, a VP with Optiwind, points to a map featuring the wind speeds in the Port City.

Founded just last year, Optiwind is pioneering a new market in wind energy, placing medium sized wind turbines right where they’re needed most – on site at schools, businesses and government locations., according to spokesperson David Hurwitt.

By allowing customers to capture their own clean, renewable power right at their own locations, Optiwind frees customers from the risk of continuously rising grid rates and allows them to refocus all of their resources on what they do best, he explained.

The companies smaller wind turbines would seem to be more in line with the visual aesthetics people want along the lake, the mayor said.

“The best thing, I think, is to try and get something in the medium range. We can power it directly into our water treatment plant,” the mayor said. “We can save money that way.”

It’s an unproven design right now, the mayor noted.

“We’re not saying we’re going to do it. We just want to be in on the ground floor if it does happen,” he explained. “This is very, very preliminary discussion. We just wanted to let the council know about the possibility.”

The other windmill project proposed to the city a while back fell through.

This is a different style, the mayor said.

Natural gas (41%) and coal (31%) dominate the US energy market, Hurwitt said.

Renewable energies account for only 4%.

Since 1960 the cost of electricity has climbed from a little more than 2 cents per KW hour to approximately 12 cents, Hurwitt pointed out.

Currently, about 1% of the county’s energy market is wind power. The Department of Energy wants to increase that figure to 20% by 2030, Hurwitt noted.

“That is a pretty dramatic increase,” he added.

Right now, there are about 50,000 wind turbines in use in America. To reach the DOE target means there will have to be 450,000 by 2030, Hurwitt said.

An artist's rendering of the Optiwind design for a wind turbine.
An artist's rendering of the Optiwind design for wind turbines.

The Optiwind advantages, according to Hurwitt, include a crane-free installation, a unique blade design, and the turbines are environmentally friendly.

There is reduced noise and lights, no radar or radio interference, they are bird and bat safe, and there aren’t ‘ice throws’ with this design, he said.

“Oswego could be the pioneer (site) for New York State,” the mayor said. “Obviously, Connecticut will be the first one. (Optiwind is based in Torrington, Conn.). If we could be the pioneer for New York State, there’s going to be incentives to go along with that, maybe a big grant, other municipalities / industries can come here and say, ‘OK it is working great,’ or maybe it’s a flop. But I anticipate from the presentation that it is going a viable product.”

The council took no action on the presentation.

It is something that will be considered in the future, the mayor indicated.