Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Alec Baldwin Wants To Build Wind Turbine On His Property

Alec Baldwin is proposing to build a 120-foot-tall wind turbine on his Amagansett property in East Hampton, Long Island. The "30 Rock" star's proposal to erect a turbine that can generate up to 10,000 kilowatts of electricity a year is jeopardized by a strict set of rules intended to preserve the area's rural and historic scenery. It would be the first residential turbine in town.  that has a windmill on its seal—Mr. Baldwin said he is trying to escape the Long Island Power Authority's high rates and draw attention to the need for renewable energy.  Baldwin grew up in Long Island in Massapequa.

He will have to overcome several hurdles before the turbine can be built. First, he'll need to contend with rules put in place by the Potter family, the former owners of the 69-acre farm that was subdivided in 1995 into 12 lots that include Mr. Baldwin's. Provisions attached to the subdivision regulate the pitches of roofs and style of window frames allowed there, and while they don't mention wind turbines, they do ban radio towers and dish antennas.

If he works past the subdivision's rules, Mr. Baldwin would need the East Hampton Town Board to approve his project.  All of his neighbors are front and center against the wind turbine. The proposal, which will require a public hearing.

Mr. Baldwin's turbine would be one of only 13 on Long Island, according to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). East Hampton, like other Long Island towns, has few rules regulating wind turbine installation beyond requiring Town Board approval. Suffolk County is working with the island's five easternmost towns, where almost all of the island's wind turbines currently stand, to come up with a uniform set of rules.

Mr. Baldwin's turbine is expected to cost $97,050, but that price will be offset by an anticipated $38,185 rebate from LIPA and a $17,660 federal tax credit, according to GreenLogic, a renewable energy company that prepared Mr. Baldwin's application. LIPA has subsidized "backyard" wind turbines since 2009.

There may be some concern that Mr. Baldwin could start a trend. Mr. Wilkinson has asked his office to explore what the town would look like if all residents eligible to put up windmills did so. (WSJ, 7/16/2012)