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USDA Rural Development awards grant money to Henderson wind turbine project

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HENDERSON — The recently approved private wind turbine to be built in the town’s Agriculture District 3 will receive $20,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the department announced Monday.

The funding will come from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, and is the only wind project in the state listed to receive such funding.

The 150-foot-high, 10-kilowatt wind turbine generator, to be built on a dairy farm owned by Harvey K. and Sue Grimshaw at 11375 Whitney Road, was approved in September following negotiations between the town Zoning Board of Appeals and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Town officials had previously argued local law prohibited the construction of private wind turbines and the submission of a long-form environmental assessment was necessary. However, the project’s developer successfully countered that the turbine was a part of the farm’s agricultural activity and as such was not subject to the town’s rules.

The town’s special wind turbine committee is preparing guidelines to rewrite the law to align with Agriculture and Markets rules.

Sherret E. Chase, president of Chase Construction Management Inc. and the project’s contractor, said he was happy about the project’s success but less enthusiastic about the lack of support for other wind projects in the state.

The $20,000 in new USDA REAP funding will cover about 23 percent of the project’s $88,000 cost. The Grimshaws have already received $36,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, along with $17,000 already supplied by the USDA, leaving them with costs of about $15,000 to get the turbine built.

In addition to the turbine project, the USDA announced it would provide $42,641 to Sonergy LLC, Ithaca; $20,000 to Lenny Bruno Farms Inc., Manorville; and $20,000 to Jeffrey Bowers, Argyle, to let each install a solar array system.

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