WARRENSBURG - While U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson is talking about the potential of constructing a nuclear power plant in the region, some local officials are exploring the idea of hosting a power plant that some citizens say has less environmental drawbacks: a hydropower generation plant.
On the urging of Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty and town board members including Austin Markey, town Assessor Greg Klingler has been researching parcels of land along the Schroon River that might be suitable for situating a hydropower plant and dam.
Klingler confirmed this week he has been examining sites along the river that have good water flow and could potentially host a hydropower plant.
"We have all that water running by that years ago powered many mills in town," he said.
Klingler said he and other town officials have envisioned that with the assistance of grant money and low-interest loans, the town could develop a plant and sell the power produced back to the power grid to help offset property taxes.
"It's free and God-given energy, we just have to harness it," Klingler said.
Warrensburg already hosts one hydropower plant. It was built in 1988 on the Schroon River by an upstate New York enterprise.
Since then, the plant has been steadily generating 2.9 megawatt-hours of energy, or enough for nearly 3,000 households, according to federal records.
Located near the site of the former site of Warrensburg Board & Paper Co., the hydropower dam has backed up millions of gallons of water to form Queen Village Pond.
Officials of the state Department of Environmental Conservation backed development of the plant and dam - although it radically changed the local landscape - because the newly-created pond offered good fish and wildlife habitat, they said.
Klingler said hydropower plants might be able to be developed along the Schroon without altering the landscape. He said he envisioned a cascade-type installation, where several low-level dams in series could be built to tap into the river's power.