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Town exploring green energy project

Brookhaven Town Hall

Brookhaven Town Hall Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Brookhaven is considering a large renewable energy project that could reduce emissions and earn the town up to $2.5 million in yearly income.

"This is by far the most sweeping alternative energy proposal on Long Island," Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said at a work session Thursday at town hall in Farmingville -- where a windmill in the parking lot spun furiously in high winds.

The project would install solar panels or windmills on up to 15 sites in the town to generate 63 megawatts of power, enough to power 8,400 homes, Romaine said. The project managers would then sell the energy to the Long Island Power Authority.

Romaine plans to introduce a resolution at Tuesday's board meeting to begin contract negotiations with a New York-based firm, whose name was withheld Thursday. "This is a great direction for our town to go in," he said.

Once all the sites are operational -- projected by 2015 -- the town would earn about $2 million to $2.5 million a year from a 20-year lease agreement. There is no cost to the town for the project.

The energy would come without the 53,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 112 tons of sulfur dioxide and 60 tons of ozone that would be produced by a fuel-burning plant generating the same amount of energy, said Bill Miller, a consultant from TRC Solutions of Lowell, Mass., working on the project for Brookhaven.

"It really is a bold and comprehensive package," said Frank Tassone, executive assistant in the town waste management department during the presentation.

"For the very first time, a municipality has looked at itself holistically," Miller said. He and an evaluation committee formed by the town has received six proposals from national renewable energy firms in response to a request for proposals issued last summer.

The chosen firm has agreed to hold public meetings in every host community to discuss the project before installing the solar panels or windmills, Miller said.

Other sites include town hall in Farmingville; the town landfill in Yaphank, which would receive solar panels; and the Manorville compost site, which Romaine said would be shut down and converted to a solar park.

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