Windmill construction set to begin in Herkimer County

By By GARY LIBERATORE

FAIRFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Hardscrabble Wind Project is set to get underway on May 23 in Herkimer County, with 37 windmills to be put up in mountain ranges in the Towns of Fairfield and Norway.

Both are northeast of Little Falls.

The roads that will be needed to get up to the windmill sites will be the first construction work to be done on the project. Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace said that work should be complete sometime in June. Once complete, all of the pieces of each windmill will then be trucked in. Wallace said all 37 windmills are expected to be up and operational by the end of the year.

The project is called the Hardscrabble Wind Project because many of the windmills being put up along Hardscrabble Road in Fairfield. It is expected bring in more than $600,000 each year to be split among the Towns of Fairfield and Norway, as well as the West Canada Valley School District and Herkimer County.

Some residents who live in the area have been keeping their eye on the two windmills that have collapsed around the state - one in Fenner in Madison County in December of 2009 and one in Altona in Clinton County in March of 2009.

On Thursday, the New York State Public Service Commission ruled that the windmill collapse in Clinton County was due to certain wiring being installed properly, and the PSC has now ordered companies to have a verification system in place to warn of this type of problem.

Wallace said he trusts the company installing the windmills in Herkimer County and believes they will do their job well. However, he is glad the PSC on top of these issues.

"I think the PSC has been very much on top of all projects, working with the wind companies for the last several years, and I think it gives people in the community a little bit better comfort feeling," Wallace said.

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