Point Lookout Wind Turbine Update

Point Lookout- Thursday night’s very heavily attended Point Lookout Civic Association (PLCA) meeting, the first public forum since the “not-so-widely-publicized-in-advance” installation of our new local landmark 100 kw wind turbine was put up, looked set to be a must-go event, and it was.

Up to speak was Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways Commissioner, Ron Masters.

Mr. Masters addressed local issues of town importance: beach revetments, piping plover status versus dogs on the beach after which, he offered to take any questions. Surprisingly, not a single question or comment was launched against the wind turbine. Here’s what Mr. Masters reported:

The turbine has already produced “( 85,000 Kw) ” hours of electricity in its first 3 months of operation. That’s enough to power 85 homes. That’s also about 40% of its projected annual output, in 25% of the year (even though it’a the windy season, we thought that original figure was low based on our wind resource!)

Another exciting mention: The town is possibly looking to add tidal energy to their mix there.

He did confirm, in response to the board’s direct admonition to please completely and directly let them know if and when the town is planning on doing another one, that the Town itself has no further ambitions or plans to put up another turbine. It would seem the “airing of the grievances” had already happened behind the scenes.

Then, just as he did for me personally (I had never met him before that), Ron Masters invited all residents interested in the project to come down to his office in the town’s West Marina (you know – where the wind turbine is) and let him show you around their energy park. In all fairness, I would recommend calling and making an appointment. If stopping in-keep in mind their small staff is busy doing their daily work, and not just waiting for anyone to walk in and give them a tour.

An attendee asked why alien-looking gas pumps were installed in the East Marina. Mr Masters explained that those are 100% solar powered EV(electric vehicle) charging stations.

Editor’s Note-The “problem” with EV’s (besides costs and travel distances) has been: are we going to have “clean” running transportation vehicles that run on electricity generated from coal and diesel fired power plants? If so, we’re just shifting the pollution, not really eliminating it, to where power is generated. This would not create the lower pollution people are looking for what would drive them to another form of vehicle. It’s also part of the cynicism behind the general public’s not switching to a hybrid or seriously considering an EV.

“So what’s that going to cost?” asked someone.

“It’s free for residents” Mr. Masters replied, “at least for the initial [time being]”

Other noteworthy commentary: a former PLCA president took a moment and publicly congratulated Mr. Masters on the achievement of the turbine.

This solicited not just one, but several other people’s shout outs:

“We should put those up all around here”

“We could run Point Lookout completely ‘off the grid’ ”

To the mild amusement of the crowd, Mr Masters said “I’m not the one proposing that!” in reference to the flack he must’ve taken over this already.

I did note however, he did not say he was against it!

When it seemed there were no further questions, it was my turn to ask:

“I understand that with the turbine we have from Northern Power Systems, other municipalities have received an online site that can show residents real-time tracking of the turbine’s power generated, pollution not created etc. , is this something the town is planning to do with our turbine?” You can see numerous examples of this here at :
Northern Power Systems Public View

Mr Masters said “Sure”… They would look into doing it.

Since this is supposed to be a demonstration project, what a great way to give the public info they can see for themselves, at any time, without taking up the Town’s time.


Among other speakers of local interest, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford was there to speak and touched on the following related subjects of interest for All Our Energy.

The main thrust of her, and quite a large segment of the attendees’ interest, was the county administration’s almost fatal blunder of trying to privatize the county’s three sewage treatment plants without fully considering public welfare first. Read the story here
Radioactive Long Island

Politics aside, if it were not for the public’s current awareness of fracking, this proposal may have gone through. That, before anyone could stop a private company from coming in and accepting as a profit source waste “water” from fracking operations going on elsewhere. The poorly treated effluent from that would be dumped in the bay. This is something our treatment plants are not ready for. Our surrounding bays are at “imperiled” status already by the poorly treated waste that already is dumped there. Now we would add the industrial chemical-riddled fracking waste water being improperly treated and released into our bays?

Legislator Ford assured the public that “hearings on this privatization are not even going to happen before 2013”.

Direct commentary from an attendee was “If we can’t trust the county to run it properly and we can’t rely on the NY State DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) to enforce the regulations with the county, how can we trust or even force a private entity.”

PLCA Environmental Committee chairman Gerry Ottavino then reminded everyone that any private entity will likely have a “battery of lawyers to deflect and delay” any issues brought against them; further complicating the process and delaying any action to stop future problems.

All in all, an interesting night for renewable energy and environmental issues.

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