Southold considers raising wind power limits

ERIN SCHULTZ FILE PHOTO | Workers install the 100 kilowatt wind turbine at Half Hollow Nursery in Laurel last year. Southold Town may allow windmills this size in the near future..

Southold is almost ready to allow residents to make more power from wind.

After a recent request from Pindar Vineyards to build a 100 kilowatt wind turbine at its Peconic vineyard, the town is considering raising the maximum electrical output currently allowed for wind turbines here from 25 to 100 kilowatts.

The maximum allowable height for turbines would remain capped at the current 120 feet.

The prospective code changes have been sent to the town’s code committee for review.

Pindar’s turbine would be the same size as one recently installed at Half Hollow Nursery in Laurel. The nursery is in Riverhead Town, which already allows 100 kilowatt turbines.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said at Tuesday’s Town Board work session that 100 kilowatts seemed to be a sweet spot for owners of large properties who plan to install turbines, offering the most power for the money they must spend to install them.

“I don’t have an objection to going bigger on the machines,” he said. “If you let larger machines on line, you need less machines.”

Southold Town Board member Chris Talbot is planning to convene a regional summit on wind energy later this year to learn what other towns allow in their wind codes, consider whether Southold should follow suit and explore any concerns the wind power industry has with current regulations.

Mr. Talbot said he’d heard from people in the industry that higher kilowatt wind turbines turn slower and are less noisy than smaller machines.

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