Lackawanna wind turbines need $21 million overhaul

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LACKAWANNA, NY (WIVB) After twelve years on the Lackawanna waterfront, the giant wind turbines on the former Bethlehem Steel site are in need of a major overhaul that will cost the company $21 million.

At least half of the fourteen wind turbines on the old Bethlehem Steel site are not working. TerraForm Power is now asking for approval to spend $21 million of the company’s money to replace the generators, gears and blades in all of them. They were built only 12 years ago.

“The windmills have not been functioning. We can all see that,” said Lackawanna Development Director Richard Stanton. ” I think it helps stabilize the finances of the city. They’re putting a more efficient, clean technology on the site. The site they select is good for wind production, so overall, the city is supportive of it.”

Under the plan, Lackawanna’s annual payments from Steel Winds would increase just a bit to $153,000 a year, so city officials are hoping the Erie County Industrial Development Agency approves the company’s rebuilding plan. “So, rather than losing about $25,000, we’re getting about $2,000 more going forward for the next ten years, and that increases another 5% at the end of year term,” said Stanton.

Some of the turbines are in the town of Hamburg. Before any approval is given, the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency is holding a public hearing at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 26 at Blasdell Village Hall.

There are some other things happening on the Bethlehem site. Dona Street has been extended to the west into the property where a new manufacturing facility is being built. TMP Technologies, the company that makes the Magic Eraser plans to bring about 100 jobs to the old steel site next year and then add fifty more jobs over the next five years.

“That is new and that is exciting for the city, because it’s finally planned development, putting the site back into reuse,” said Stanton. He also notes that a 300 foot dome will be built to accommodate sugar storage and delivery. “There’s another sugar unloading facility, so freighters coming in unloading sugar on site, that’s another new development.”

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