By Gina Martinez
Community Board 7 held its monthly meeting and at the top of the agenda was a potential wind turbine on Bayside’s Fort Totten military base.
FDNY officials shared their plans to construct a wind turbine in the southeast portion of Fort Totten where the Fire Department has a training facility. Board members were initially concerned the turbine would be too loud, but they were reassured it would make minimal noise and would be far away from any residential homes.
The Fire Department officials said the turbine is experimental and would be the first to be installed on public land in the city. The turbine would require $460,000 in capital funding and the reason the FDNY needs community board approval is because the height is over 40 feet. According to FDNY officials, the structure would be 160 feet tall.
“If this is approved, it would be the first wind turbine placed on city property ever in the city of New York, “ Paul DeRocchis, director of construction at FDNY, said. “ The turbine would have a 25-year lifespan and will reduce electrical cost at the headquarters of the academy by 5 percent.”
DeRocchis said the Fire Department is looking for opportunities to use a lot more green technology . He pointed out that many of their facilities are old and it is difficult to address energy issues with more traditional manners. The turbine, which utilizes the wind to spin blades that are connected to a generator, makes electricity.
“We’re not doing it for the sake of doing it,” he said. “We want this to succeed.”
DeRocchis said in the end even if it fails, the turbine would be a great learning opportunity for the department and the community.
“Even if it’s a net loss, it’s not that bad of a loss given the learning curve,” he said. “We have the ability to move forward and do this again because you do get better at things. In the future, if things get cheaper, we can go to another site and build there based on what we learned. It’s a win.”
DeRocchis added that the department is trying to expand and grow.
“We’re looking at it as a model of being very proactive for the Fire Department,” he said. “Most people see us as very conservative in what we do. On our side we’re always trying new things, we’re always trying to innovate and we want to give people an opportunity to learn alongside us.”
The FDNY said if the turbine is approved, it would give community members the opportunity to view the turbine and learn about its functions. Despite the board’s support for the turbine, members decided to wait on voting until they clarified with the Board of Corrections about a proposed academy site. According to CB 7 Vice President Chuck Apelian, Corrections is considering Fort Totten as a potential site for a training academy, but the board has not gotten a proper response from the agency despite reaching out.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart