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Letter: Wind turbines benefit economy, environment

Mark Twichell’s June 7 commentary (“Wind turbines threaten property values in Chautauqua”) fails to mention the overwhelmingly positive benefits wind power brings to rural communities.

Wind projects bring new high-paying jobs both during and after construction, infrastructure investment, and new revenue for the community. In New York, landowners hosting wind turbines receive up to $10 million a year for hosting turbines. That steady income can make a huge difference during years of poor harvest or rising commodity prices.

Wind benefits more than farmers hosting turbines, however. Wind projects bring substantial new resources to host communities that help fund law enforcement, road repairs and school upgrades.

For example, the town of Sheldon eliminated local taxes for eight years because wind revenue covered its entire budgetary need. In Lowville, wind revenue allowed the school district to provide every student grades kindergarten through 12 with a computer, and the district also built new athletic fields using wind resources.

All of this is achieved through a small footprint. The New York State Research and Development Authority has found wind to have among the lowest impacts on wildlife and its surrounding habitat of any large-scale way to generate electricity. The average wind farm also leaves 98 percent of land undisturbed, leaving it free for other uses like farming.

Wind continues to bring jobs, revenue and new opportunities to communities across New York. So it’s no surprise that 89 percent of New Yorkers support growing wind, according to a poll from the Nature Conservancy. Our state should continue tapping into this opportunity-creating resource.

Anne Reynolds

Executive Director

Alliance for Clean Energy New York

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