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Winds of change in Sherman

Village, school board discuss energy project

January 30, 2013
By DAVID PRENATT - CORRESPONDENT ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

SHERMAN - Representatives from the Village of Sherman and two companies specializing in wind power told the Sherman Central School Board of Education on Wednesday, Jan. 16 it may be able to lower its electric costs through a project currently being pursued by the village.

Shaun Lockett, vice president of sales for Aeronautica in Plymouth, Mass.; Rodney Weaver, project manager for Rural Generation and Wind Inc., of Hastings N.Y.; Merle Good, sales representative for Rural Generation and Wind Inc.; and Jay Irwin, chief operator of the Sherman wastewater treatment plant presented the various aspects of a plan to construct a wind turbine to generate the electricity used by the village.

Lockett told the board that, if constructed, the electrons from the turbine would be transferred into National Grid's electrical system. The town would then receive a credit for the energy it produced. This is a process called "net metering," which was established by New York State law.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
Representatives from various organizations presented the benefits of wind power to Sherman School Board on Wednesday, Jan. 16. From left to right are: Jay Irwin, chief operator of the Sherman wastewater treatment plant; Shawn Lockett of Aeronautica Windpower in Plymouth, Mass.; Merle Good of Rural Generation and Wind Inc., in Hastings, N.Y.; and Rodney Weaver of Rural Generation and Wind Inc.

"They just manage the bill," Lockett said.

Since the electricity generated would be more than the village could use, it can provide it to other users, such as the school or area businesses, at a greatly reduced rate under a "power purchase agreement," or PPA, Lockett said. This helps the village pay for construction of the turbine.

"It's a great win for your town and it's a great win for your school," he said.

Weaver told the board the PPA would benefit the school because it is the village that guarantees a fixed price, not the electric company.

"You don't want to sell power to the grid," he said. "The object is to get the maximum benefit PPA with the village that helps it with its payback."

School board member Gary DeLellis asked if the school would be able to wait and enter into a contract later, but Irwin responded the village would also be offering a PPA to the local businesses if the school declines.

"As soon as we know where the school is going, we will take it from there," Irwin said. "We are going ahead with this project, but we want to see who's coming on board."

Weaver said the project has already been in the works for seven months. Several organizations, such as National Grid and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSERDA, have already endorsed the project.

Lockett said Aeronautica has turbines of this sort working in Chicago, Ohio and Long Island. The machines are modeled after ones made in Denmark more than 30 years ago that are still working. Furthermore, the big turbine is 87 percent American-made while the smaller one is 75 percent American-made.

"Ninety-five percent of the time the machine is available (operating)," Lockett said. "We warrant this and we stand behind it. Anybody else that competes with us is selling a foreign machine."



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