Utica, NY (WIBX) - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is bringing back a popular green energy development program.Over the next 5 years NYSERDA will spend $16.1  million to help New Yorkers install small-scale wind turbines on their property.  Spokesperson Alan Wechsler said the program--in its second reincarnation--is meant for people who want to go green and safe money. He said, "The idea is to encourage people to invest in these wind turbines because they are expensive so this off-sets the price a little bit."

The first implementation of the program was in 2008, and according to Wechsler 61 projects were constructed with $1.8 million in funding from NYSERDA. He said, "NYSERDA has been involved in wind incentives before then, we've really been working on encouraging wind since 2001, but 2008 was really the first serious project that we've done to encourage this sort of thing." He said the 61 projects are all over the state but most are in the Syracuse, Onondaga, Otsego and Buffalo area.

To qualify for the program Wechsler said the main thing NYSERDA looks at is the wind factor. Any individual consumer, developer or farmer can see if they have enough wind to qualify for a small scale wind turbine by visiting: http://nyswe.awstruepower.com/. "First you go onto the Small Wind Explorer website and you can look up where your property is located anywhere in the state and then you can find out what your wind is like there, and if you have a territory that's windy enough to qualify, then you just find a wind turbine installer," Wechsler said.

After hiring a wind turbine installer, NYSERDA will pay 30% or up to $400,000.00 for the project. Wechsler said the money goes through the developers--where the cost for the project is reduced.  He said the average cost of a small scale wind turbine is $67,000.00.

Robert Doane, an Onondaga County resident is having his wind turbine installed this week. Doane said his family started the process three years ago. He said NYSERDA paid 45% for their wind turbine project and said the unused energy that will be collected, will go back into the grid and the power company will cut him a check for it. He said, "My wife and I wanted to do our part to go green and the NYSERDA incentive seemed very enticing. Hopefully the wind turbine will pay for itself in 5 years." Doane said most of his neighbors have been supporting of the project except for a lone complainer whom he declined to name.

So where does the money come from to pay for these incentives? According to Wechsler it comes from tax payers through the Renewable Portfolio Standard charge on their electric bill. It's a charge that goes back a few years. He said, "The RPS is for electric only. If you get electric and gas on one bill, only the electric portion is charged the 2.1%." The National Grid charge is 2.1% of a customers total bill. Wechsler said you can see this charge as two separate charges, (the SBC/RPS line item) listed as a single charge on your bill. He said it's a fairly small charge every month. The Systems Benefit Charge (SBC) goes towards other programs but the RPS charge is for renewable energy projects like small scale wind turbines for New Yorkers. More information can be found at: www.NYSERDA.org.

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