Study: Wind turbine could mean big savings

06/03/2010 12:00 AM |

A 270-foot-high wind turbine at the Riverhead Town Sewer District property on Riverside Avenue would generate about $250,000 a year in revenue and pay for itself in about 10 years, according to a study of the project conducted for the town.

The $40,000 study was done by DHL Neutral Services, an European company with a Long Island branch in St. James.

A wind turbine of that size would result in an energy savings of about 41 percent under current conditions. That savings would drop to 23 percent when the sewer plant’s proposed $17 million upgrade is completed, since the plant would then need require more energy, said sewer district superintendent Michael Reichel and Peter Rusi of DHL Neutral Systems.

The Town Board commissioned the study last November and got the results last month.

Councilman John Dunleavy said he thinks the project is a step in the right direction.

“We should start thinking about going green in this town,” he said.

The proposed location of the turbine is the northern part of the sewer district property, near the woods close to the scavenger waste plant, Mr. Rusi said.

The proposed tower would be taller and would generate more energy than the one just built at Half Hollow Farms in Laurel, which is currently the largest turbine on Long Island.

The study estimated noise levels from the facility at 50 decibels, which would not be in violation of the town’s noise laws, and listed its generating capacity at 750 kilowatts. The next step in the process is studying wind currents on the property, which officials expect to take between six and nine months.

The estimated cost of building the tower is $1.6 million, according to the study. The town would have to seek competitive bids for the job. Mr. Rusi said his company does not build turbines.

The town sewer plant was upgraded to a state-of-the-art level of treatment about 10 years ago, but new federal and state regulations are now requiring an even more extensive upgrade, which officials estimate will cost about $17 million.

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