LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - A big expansion along the Lake Erie Shoreline is bringing a windfall of new energy.
There are now 14 wind turbines catching the breeze at the old Bethlehem Steel site. It won't bring down our electric bills, but First Wind will pay out $290,000 a year to be split among Lackawanna, Hamburg and its school districts.
CEO Paul Gaynow said, "It's a great place for a wind farm. It's cold and windy."
Each of the wind turbines puts out enough electricity for about 600 homes, so the entire project puts out about enough electricity for 10,000 homes. That's enough to power all the homes in Lackawanna and a few thousand more in Hamburg.
But it's still not the cheapest way to produce electricity. Private investors spent $60 million to build the waterfront turbines, and in return, the federal government gives them credits of almost a million dollars a year.
Rep. Brian Higgins said, "We will continue to support tax credits which are fundamentally important, particularly when you look at new energy technology because what you know about energy is there's always a cheaper, dirtier alternative."
Not everyone sees it that way.
Great Lakes Wind Truth executive director Thomas Marks countered, "The reason we're putting the wind turbines up is to stop Co2 emissions. And while you were making that electricity with the wind, the coal plant was still burning coal on standby, so you never reduced any Co2 emissions to prevent global climate change."
But it is a start.
"As we're generating a lot of power here right now, that just means that less power is being generated from a fossil plant or coal plant," stated Gaynor.
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