It looks like a wind turbine is indeed coming to the Riverhead sewer plant property off Route 105.
Councilman George Gabrielsen and Supervisor Walter took a trip to Madison County, N.Y., last week to observe a 1.5 megawatt turbine in action there. Both concluded the turbine is quiet enough that it would not disturb neighborhoods around the sewer plant.
“I was against the turbine but now I think I’m going to switch the other way,” Mr. Gabrielsen told the News-Review during his ride from Madison County last Monday. “They weren’t that noisy. If you get right under it you can hear a swishing sound but that was about it. And this was an old model; the new ones are even quieter.”
Mr. Walter, who also had reservations but will now support the proposed project, said that once he and Mr. Gabrielsen took a short walk into some nearby woods they could not hear any sound from the turbine.
Both men have met with the New York Power Authority, which could end up overseeing the entire project.
“NYPA would get us the right unit, so I feel comfortable,” said Mr. Gabrielsen.
The proposed 750 kw wind turbine would cost the town, at most, $1.8 million to build, but the energy it generates for the sewer plant would pay off that cost within 11 years. It would then generate $5 million in energy savings over its projected 25-year life, according to consultant Peter Rusy of DHL Power, which did a feasibility study on the proposal.
“We have to approve the bonding issue,” Mr. Walter said about the next steps. “Probably before that we’ll put the other duck in a row with NYPA and make sure they’re willing to come in and construct this, and work it. And if they do this the interest rate is like .5 percent. That’s like free money.”