Windmills Pay the Rent but Spark Rage in NY

By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2008 6:20 PM CDT
An Amish farmer rakes hay as wind turbines from the Maple Ridge Wind Farm work in the distance in Lowville, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 4, 2008.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Wind turbines are cropping up in rural New York state and threatening to pull communities apart, the AP reports. The state's largest wind energy project is worth $400 million and powers 100,000 homes; farmers get paid up to $6,600 per turbine per year to offset the sight and sound of massive spinning blades. But some families and neighbors are at odds over whether the money is worth it.

Local officials struck a 15-year deal with one energy company that brought $8.1 million to three jurisdictions in the first year. "It's the best cash cow we ever had," one farmer said. But not all residents benefit equally, and none get free energy. Turbines also spoil the view and may harm bat and bird populations. "I tell people it's not a wind farm, it's an industrial development," said one angry resident.
(Read more New York economy stories.)