Riverhead receives $470k wind turbine grant

The Riverhead Town Board hasn’t officially decided if it’s going to proceed with building a 750 kw, 270-foot-high wind turbine on the site of its sewer plant. But if it does, there’s a $470,000 grant waiting.

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation has awarded Riverhead a $470,000 grant for the proposed turbine, which officials have said would cost $1.8 million to build and would generate about $5 million in energy savings over a 25-year period.

The state lists the total project cost as $19,595,000, which includes the $18 million cost for an overall upgrade of the sewer plant, which is being required by new federal regulations. It was not immediately clear if the $470,000 grant is contingent upon the town’s doing the entire sewer plant upgrade, town officials said.

The grant is part of the state’s Green Innovation Grant Program, and was one of 40 awarded Tuesday statewide.

The state said the turbine will provide 41 percent of the energy for the sewer facility and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 18,000 tons over 25 years. The energy savings would allow the town to apply the extra money toward other sewer plant upgrades needed to protect the Peconic Estuary, the state said.

Supervisor Sean Walter has said he’s leaning toward voting in favor of the turbine, despite some community opposition, because he visited wind farms in Atlantic City and Madison County and found them to be quieter than he anticipated.

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