Tag Archive | "east hampton airport"

East Hampton Holds off on Aviation Fuel Hike

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A resolution to double the fuel fees at the East Hampton Airport was tabled by a unanimous vote of the East Hampton Town Board on Thursday, June 5.

Cindy Herbst, of Sound Aircraft Services read a statement about the fee being raised from 15 cents to 30 cents a gallon. She said that her company had had no time to prepare for the increase, and that she thought a 5-cent increase with six months notice was more appropriate. Margaret Turner, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Business Alliance,  aired similar concerns on behalf of other businesses.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell said that he was “sensitive to the amount of the increase in one year and the need for reasonable notice.” Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc recommended that the board table this issue and come back to review it after further discussions.

The fee hike had been recommended by a subcommittee of the town’s budget and finance committee as a way to help wean the airport from the need for Federal Aviation Administration grant money.

Noyac Civic Council Grants Scholarships, Talks Traffic

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May Evjen, left, and Sara Bucking, this year’s recipients of Noyac Civic Council scholarships. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Michael Zarro was met with traffic questions, requests and complaints from concerned citizens at a Noyac Civic Council meeting on Tuesday, June 10.

Lt. Zarro, who will celebrate his 26th year as a member of the force next month, attended the meeting, he said, to find out “what you as a community think is the problem.”

Trucks and speeding, it turns out, are the two main concerns among the residents who attended, and there is no simple solution in sight.

Several Noyackers complained about loud construction and concrete trucks barreling down the hamlet’s quiet, predominantly residential streets starting at 6 a.m. every weekday. Residents insisted that the trucks drive so much faster than the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit, that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for them to drive around their neighborhood. “You can’t get out of your driveway!” one woman said.

Lt. Zarro said that knowing what specific time to target will help with traffic calming in the area.

One resident suggested that the Southampton Town Police Department station three officers at various spots along Noyac Road at 6 a.m. every day for a month. Lt. Zarro did not think that that would be a possibility but did inform the room that Lieutenant James Kiernan, also of the town police department, will provide more traffic enforcement for the road.

Due to the closure of several bars in Hampton Bays that required police patrols, police officers who previously worked on the busy weekend night during the summer season will now have more time to enforce Noyac speed limits, said Lt. Zarro.

One resident asked if adding traffic lights would help to alleviate the situation, but Lt. Zarro said that he didn’t believe so, “I don’t think they’ll slow traffic down, either,” he said. The stopping and starting of trucks creates also more noise than their passing by, it was explained.

Ralph DiSpigna expressed concern over conflicting figures he was given about the number of traffic accidents on Noyac Road. When he asked the Southampton Town Police, he was told that there had been five accidents in five years. He was told by the Southampton Town Highway Department, however, that there had been 21 in the same time frame. Lt. Zarro said he would investigate this further and get back to him.

The lieutenant emphasized the importance of reporting accidents and instances of speeding to the police department at the time that they occur. He added that a report must be filed for the specific case to go on record.

The police officer also discussed the dangers of telephone scams warning the crowd how professional the scammers can be. A press release authorized by Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa on June 9 was handed out and described three scams to be particularly worried about: the relative in jail scam, where the caller claims to need money to bail the victim’s relative out of jail; the IRS tax warrant scam, in which the caller claims to be an agent from IRS about a past due balance; and the jury duty scam, where the caller pretends to be a police or warrant officer demanding payment of a fine.

Lt. Zarro warned everyone to stay vigilant and never to give out personal information over the phone or the Internet.

During the meeting, Bob Malafronte gave a progress report on East Hampton Airport’s Noise Abatement Committee. Mr. Malafronte is one of only two committee members from Southampton. “They are making incredible progress,” he said, despite the fact that both flights and noise complaints are up this year.

Mr. Malafronte added, “We’re going for a complete helicopter ban. Other things will come up later, but for now it’s just helicopters.” He suggested that residents call the airport every time that they are disrupted by helicopter or plane noise. “I know that your efforts have gotten us some recognition,” he told the room.

President Elena Loreto presented the 2014 scholarship winners, Sara Bucking and May Evjen, both of Pierson High School. Sara has volunteered at East End Hospice’s Camp Good Grief, the Southampton Historical Society and the Easter Bonnet Parade. She plans to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, in the fall. May is a volunteers at the Southampton Presbyterian Church and the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. She will attend American University in the fall where she will major in communications and media studies.

“She hopes to make films,” said Ms. Loreto. “I hope she makes one about the Noyac Civic Council. I’m sure it’ll be a horror film.”

Flights, Complaints Up at East Hampton Airport

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By Mara Certic

Over half of the flights into and out of East Hampton Airport over the Memorial Day Weekend—a weekend that saw a 20 percent increase in traffic over last year—were the subject of noise complaints, airport manager Jim Brundige told the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday.

About 25 percent of all complaints came from eastern Sag Harbor Village, although senior airport attendant Peter Boody reported that “somewhere around 80 percent” of those complaints were from one particular resident of the village who “has a problem with aircraft noise” and makes numerous calls a day.

From May 22 through May 26, there were a total of 872 flights. The airport tracks flights through a combination of aircraft tracking, cameras and logs filled out by airport personnel. According to Mr. Brundige, there are limitations to the accuracy of the process, but that the best estimate shows that 40 percent of the activity over the holiday weekend was by helicopters.

The airport manager said there was a 20 percent increase in operations over Memorial Day 2013, and that increase resulted in airport managers and Eastern Regional Helicopter Council executive director Jeff Smith agreeing at a May 30 meeting to alter the southern helicopter approach to the airport because the existing rules “were not working.”

Prior to the Memorial Day weekend, helicopters would begin their descent over Georgica Pond and would do a “circling, descending route” over the airport before landing, Mr. Brundige said. The route has now been tweaked to make it safer by having helicopters continue eastbound, past Georgica Pond, before they start their descent from a height of 2,000 feet as all other air traffic does.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell expressed concern about the route shift. “The downside to this is more complaints,” he said. “I look at the [area] you suggested and I see more houses.”

That was a consideration of last week’s meeting, Mr. Brundige said, but those participating decided it was the best route for safety.

Mr. Cantwell reiterated his worries and said that “No matter how you look at it, there’s substantially more traffic over this period of time [than last year.] Substantially more complaints lead me to the conclusion that we need limits—we really need limits here.”

The airport manager attributed the increase in air traffic this year to better weather, and added, “we have the same helicopters coming and going as we have the past few years. We haven’t changed our clientele.”

Mr. Brundige also presented two resolutions for the town board to consider when it meets on Thursday, June 5.

The first is a proposal to increase landing fees by 10 percent in order to provide adequate revenue to maintain the airport, Mr. Brundige said. This would be effective immediately and would result in a $100,000 increase in revenue for the town for the remainder of this year. According to Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, landing fees provided approximately $1.3 million for the town last year, and are the airport’s “biggest source of revenue,” she said.

The second proposal is to increase the fuel charge from 15 to 30 cents a gallon. Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft Services, which operates at East Hampton Town Airport, expressed concern over the potential change. “There has to be some kind of justification for not raising it 5 cents but doubling it,” she said. “We have to pass that along to our customers and I’m not sure that we can do that.”

Some airports charge as much as 32 cents a gallon, she said, but that they provide operators better access.

The town’s budget and finance committee proposed the changes, said Mr. Brundige. “They did their homework; it’s really what the going rate is among other airports. This is their recommendation as a stop-gap for 2014.”

In 2002, when the 15-cent per gallon fee was adopted, the retail price for fuel was $2.52 per gallon. It now costs about $7, he said.

“I know it’s been a long time since the fee was raised,” Ms. Herbst told the board.  “I just don’t think that a 100-percent raise is justifiable. Please take that into consideration.”

The board suggested a sit-down with Ms. Herbst and Mr. Brundige before the resolution is considered during Thursday’s meeting.

Elected Officials Ask FAA to Make Helicopter Route Rules Permanent

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By Stephen J. Kotz

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop this week urged the Federal Aviation Administration to renew a rule, set to expire in August, that requires that most helicopters traveling to and from the East End follow an over-the-water route along the North Shore of Long Island.

The federal lawmakers have also asked the FAA to require that helicopters fly east of Orient Point when flying to East Hampton Airport.

“It is imperative that the FAA continues to require helicopter pilots to utilize a route that travels over water rather than residential communities,” said Mr. Bishop in a joint release with Senator Schumer.

“Over the past several years, we, as East End elected officials have banded together to fight for over-the-water helicopter routes to ensure that the least number of homeowners are negatively affected by summertime air traffic and noise,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., in his own press release.

But Jeff Smith, the executive director of the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, an industry group, said lawmakers’ enthusiasm for the route may be ill-advised.

He said that relations between East Hampton Town and the pilots group, have been improving, with both sides working together to reduce noise complaints.

“The reason there has been improvement” and a reduction in noise complaints “is because we have the ability to work with the town and [airport manager] Jim Brundige to massage the routes,” he said. “If the FAA says you are going to fly this line, we can’t do that.”

Mr. Smith said he feared the new rule would result in more complaints because it would require that pilots pass over Springs and the Village of East Hampton on their way into and out of East Hampton Airport.

“The FAA has to show data that its rules will result in an improved situation, but we have data that shows just the opposite,” he said.

Committee Says Airport Can Stand on its Own

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Members of East Hampton’s budget and financial advisory committee dropped a bit of a bombshell on Tuesday when they told the town board that the town would be able to continue operating the airport for the foreseeable future without accepting additional funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Whether the town could afford to maintain the facility without federal largesse has long been a bone of contention, with airport supporters saying the grants are needed to maintain the airport and opponents saying the town will not be able to control the facility as long as it continues accepting federal aid and the restrictions that come with it.

“Some people held the conclusion that the airport would fall apart if you did not take FAA money. This report disproves that,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who nonetheless added he would not close the door on the possibility the town would need FAA funding in the future.

“Clearly, your financial analysis shows we can move forward at least in the immediate and interim future, that we can finance the airport, that we can keep it safe, and that we can make the improvements that are absolutely necessary and do that for some period of time without taking FAA money,” he said.

The report was presented to the board by Arthur Malman, the chairman of the budget advisory committee, and Peter Wadsworth, one of its authors, who told the board the airport will be able to generate enough cash flow to adequately cover its long term debt servicing needs.

Both men stressed that the group that worked on the report represented a cross-section of airport supporters and opponents and had reached their conclusion unanimously.

In compiling the report, the committee assumed varying scenarios, ranging from no changes in airport traffic to one in which there were no helicopter flights. They also assumed that the town could realize modest revenue growth by raising fees to offset expected increases in expenses.

The scenario is even more rosy, Mr. Wadsworth said, if the town takes advantage of a number of options to enhance revenue from the airport. Among the options the committee found beside raising landing fees and fuel charges include requiring paid parking, renegotiating hangar leases, possibly adding additional hangars, developing 15 vacant lots on Industrial Road as well as the potential for developing a massive solar farm on the northern end of the airport.

Mr. Malman added that the airport property encompasses some 600 acres, with much of it zoned for industrial uses, which is in high demand. He added, though, that any development schemes would require careful analysis by the town’s planning and natural resources departments.

He added that the town has the potential to turn the airport into a major source of revenue, when the last of the FAA grant restrictions expire in 2022. Because of those restrictions, any revenue raised at the airport must be spent there. But after they expire, the town would be able to use operating surpluses to reduce taxes.

“It may become a very significant source of nontax revenue,” he said. “The bad news is there has to be a little thought given as to how you set this thing up” to make sure the airport properly maintained.

Town Hopes Agreement Leads to Fewer Helicopter Noise Complaints

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By Stephen J. Kotz

A voluntary agreement to regulate helicopter traffic at East Hampton Airport that is hoped will reduce noise complaints was unveiled before the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday.

“Do we have to talk about helicopters? Do we have to do this?” quipped Supervisor Larry Cantwell, referring to the controversy increased helicopter traffic has caused in recent years, before Peter Boody, the recently appointed assistant to airport manager Jim Brundige, began his presentation.

Mr. Boody was accompanied by Jeff Smith, chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, an industry group that, he said, counts among its members all of the pilots who typically use the airport.

The agreement, which largely focuses on asking helicopter pilots to maintain minimum altitudes and set routes into and out of the airport, was struck between the council, the airport manager’s office, the control tower, and a pair of town airport subcommittees—one that is made up of airport users and another that is made up of anti-noise activists.

“Most of these routes were in effect last year” when noise complaints declined from about 11,000 to approximately 6,700, Mr. Boody said.

The difference, he said, is that the airport will now monitor flight data from its air traffic control tower. When a complaint is received or a monitor notices that a pilot has not followed the recommended flight path, the information will be forwarded to Mr. Smith of the helicopter council, who will address the concerns with the offending pilot.

“I’ve already had this conversation with every one of my members,” Mr. Smith said. “They have all agreed this is doable.”

“That’s what Jeff and I will be doing all summer long, talking about these problems,” said Mr. Boody after reviewing a few examples on a PowerPoint presentation that showed the paths of helicopters that did not follow the designated routes.

“It’s remarkable how much eagerness there is to comply,” said Mr. Boody. He added, though, that in the summer, as traffic picks up, pilots tend to not follow the routes as precisely as they can. There is also some confusion, he said, among those who don’t understand the new routes.

Mr. Boody said a key element to the new approach is convincing pilots of the need to maintain reasonable altitudes as they approach or leave the airport.

“There have been ups and downs,” Mr. Boody said of efforts to control helicopter traffic. “Generally that the trend is up in terms of altitude is true.”

He conceded, though, that while getting pilots to fly at higher altitudes “affects the intensity of the noise, it doesn’t make it go away.”

Helicopters using a northeasterly route are asked to attain an altitude of at least 2,000 feet before leaving the airport boundary and climb to 3,000 feet by the time they pass over Barcelona Neck and fly over the bay, over the South Ferry channel and on toward the North Fork.

About 30 percent of helicopters use a southerly route that passes over Georgica Pond. They too are asked to climb to 2,000 feet before leaving the airport boundary and over the center of Georgica Pond before turning at the cut at a preferred height of 3,000 feet.

Mr. Smith said that fewer helicopters use the southern route because airplane and jet traffic is already concentrated at that end of the airport, often making the skies too crowded.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby asked whether air traffic controllers could direct helicopter pilots to follow a set route, but Mr. Boody said since the routes are voluntary, the air traffic controllers would have no authority to direct them.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc expressed reservations about the whole idea of sending most flights northward over land that the town, county, and state had spent millions of dollars to protect as open space.

“We have now created a helicopter superhighway to the Hamptons over an area we preserved,” he said. “I find that a troubling contradiction.”

Mr. Van Scoyoc was also perturbed Mr. Smith told him that larger, larger twin-engine helicopters will be sent north over Northwest Harbor and Cedar Point along the eastern edge of Shelter Island before heading out over Orient Point.

“So, the heavies which are 50 percent of the traffic will now be going the length of Northwest Harbor,” he said, adding quietly, “terrific.”

 

Peter Boody

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Peter Boody of North Haven, who has enjoyed a long career as a newspaper editor on the East End, but whose first love has always been aviation, talks about his new job as an assistant to Jim Brundige, the manager of the East Hampton Airport.

By Stephen J. Kotz

So you have given up the life of a journalist to become the East Hampton Airport senior attendant. What do your new duties entail?

It sounds a little bit like a guy in the white suit restraining patients in an asylum, but the attendant is responsible for answering the Unicom frequency [an information service for pilots], accepting fuel deliveries, and many other things. What impresses me is how much paperwork and recordkeeping there is. Basically, my job will be to help Jim Brundige who has been working on his own since the fall.

The town has been hiring graduates of Dowling College who have aviation management degrees, but often they leave after a year or so. I think maybe the town board thought it might be good to hire a guy who is a local, is experienced, and who is not going to be going away.

Besides your love of flying, what special qualifications do you bring to the job?

I have a long history at the airport. I worked there when I was in high school and I’ve operated there. Being a reporter and editor out here for 30 years, I covered the airport as a neutral observer, not as a fan or pilot, and I’m aware of a lot of the issues that have been part of the airport’s history. They are still important issues, with noise being the biggest one. I think I understand the pressure town board members are working under.

Noise is clearly the top issue. What can be done to see that the complaints of people who are fed up listening to helicopters and planes will be addressed?

There is lots of information coming in on software that tracks airplanes and helicopters. We can follow the flight path and the altitude. I’ll be doing lots of work tracking down noise complaints. I’ll also be observing how well helicopters are going to be following the voluntary flight paths. If not, we’ll go to after those operators and say you have to comply or otherwise we’ll have a town that wants to shut its airport. We don’t have a lot of power right now. That is one of the issues the town board is pondering: If we don’t take FAA grants will we have more authority to restrict certain operators. It’s a very complex legal issue.

What sparked your interest in flying?

I was a summer kid in Bridgehampton in 1965 and I was out on the golf course of the Bridgehampton Club when someone landed a glider on the eighth fairway. The canopy opened and out popped this kid who was no older than me. His name was Bill Stegman and I would later go on to work with him at Montauk Caribbean Airlines.

I ran home and told my dad I really wanted to take flying lessons. My dad said he would match every dollar I saved. My grandfather was one of the first guys to get his wings in the navy, so I had heard him talk about flying. I became obsessed with it. I eventually took lessons at Teterboro Airport near our home in New Jersey. When I was 16, on July 4, 1967, I did my first solo. I only had eight hours [of flight time.] But all you had to do was take off… and come and land. Looking back, I barely knew how to do that, but I did know enough to come back and not wreck the plane.

Later, I went to work for Montauk Caribbean, which had regularly scheduled flights to New York. I was what they called a line boy. I fueled airplanes, drove the fuel truck, did all sorts of things from dispatching to loading the planes and taking the money from the passengers.

 Will you miss journalism?

I’ve been looking for a way to retire gracefully from the news business, but I think I will miss journalism very much. I will continue to try to do a thing I’ve been doing every week, which is writing an interview for The Shelter Island Reporter, which have been doing for the past year.

I think that what has frustrated me is the dumbing down of standards. I think stories are a lot less crisp, clear and precise than they used to be, not just where I’ve worked but everywhere. There is a looseness in writing because there has been a change in standards.  Part of that comes from the web, part of it is how we are educating people, and part of it is from tendencies in the culture.

 

East Hampton Plans Airport Noise Study

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By Stephen J. Kotz

East Hampton Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez announced on Tuesday that the town would undertake a noise study this summer with an eye toward developing use restrictions at East Hampton Airport.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said the town would take a somewhat novel approach that would seek to use both “noise averaging” data, which is typically required by the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as try to determine whether aircraft operations violate town law, which limits noise to 65 decibels during the daytime and 50 at night.

The town wants to have a consultant hired by early June, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

The dual-pronged approach represents a compromise between two separate noise subcommittees the town board established earlier this year to advise it on airport issues. One of those subcommittees is made up exclusively of members of the aviation community and the other is made up of people who want the town to reduce noise coming from the airport.

Noise subcommittee members did not want the traditional noise averaging study done, which was recommended by DY Consultants, the town’s aviation engineering consultants, because it would take too long, cost too much, and not provide completely accurate information, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

The town has a number of software programs that track not only the number of flights but the type of aircraft, whether it be a Sikorsky helicopter, a Gulfstream corporate jet or a Cessna single-engine plane, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said. In addition, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said, whoever conducts the study will be able to obtain detailed operating decibel information from aircraft manufacturers to help them generate an accurate computer modeling to map noise as an aircraft leaves or approaches the airport.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez cautioned that the study would be preliminary in nature but stressed that it could be used to help determine what types of restrictions the town could consider imposing once some F.A.A. grant restrictions expire at the end of the year.

Separately, Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera has been appointed to the noise subcommittee. Ms. Scalera announced her appointment at Tuesday night’s Noyac Civic Council meeting just as a helicopter passed overhead, drowning out her words.

Conversation with Kathy Cunningham

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Kathy Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition.

Kathy Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition.

By Kathryn G. Menu

The chairwoman of the Quiet Skies Coalition talks about the changing of the guard on the East Hampton Town Board, the finances at the airport and her hopes for quieter skies in 2015

 

This year has brought a number of changes regarding the East Hampton Airport, chief amongst those the election of a new majority on the East Hampton Town Board and the appointment of Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez as airport liaison. What impact has that had in discussing noise abatement at the airport?

We have already seen a positive impact. Kathee has my full confidence. She is smart, she gets it, she is equitable and she is really a public servant. She is not a politician so I think that really helps motivate her to do something that this community has been in desperate need of for a long time.

 

A subcommittee BFAC has been charged with looking at airport finances in an effort to complete a full audit of airport expenses and revenues. What does QSC hope this accounting will lead to?

It has already discovered revenue streams at the airport that have been unreported until now. Our hope is that the airport can be financially self-sustaining, which would free us from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grant assurances for maintenance and capital improvements there that are necessary. If we can pay for them ourselves we don’t have to keep the airport open 365 days a year for 24 hours a day, which is just one access limitation we could legally impose once we are out from under the grant assurances. That will actually happen as of January 1, 2015, a date I thought I would never live to see, quite frankly.

 

What are some of the other access limitations QSC would like to see the town consider?

Well, limits to helicopter traffic, enforceable curfews. We don’t have a specific base of information from which to make recommendations about how much that should be limited but early indications show 70 percent of noise can be addressed by an enforceable curfew and limiting helicopter traffic and I think that would go a long way towards mitigating noise on the East End, not just in East Hampton.

 

An Airport Planning Committee—made up of two subcommittees including those in the noise affected community and those in the aviation community—has also been appointed by the town board to look at both noise abatement and capital projects. What do you hope they can accomplish?

Before an alleged press release was sent out [by the aviation subcommittee regarding noise complaint data] I had hoped there would be an opportunity for the noise affected community to sit down with the aviation community and really express what our basic concerns are because I don’t think they have ever understood it from our point of view. I think the fear is that we want to close the airport, which is not what we want to do. Noise mitigation does not equal close the airport and if we just had a chance to sit down and discuss this it might help, but it has been so polarized.

 

What do you say to the noise affected as we go into a potentially sticky season when it comes to air traffic?

Well, this will be the last summer the town will not have the ability to limit access to its airport. As of January 1, 2015 they will be able to say, closed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. or whatever curfew they demand and no one can come in unless it is an emergency or military operation. But this summer, we will not have those options.

What we really need the noise affected to do this summer is to call the noise complaint hotline (537-LOUD, 1-800-376-4817). Noise complaint data is a flawed concept because it implies without a noise complaint there was no noise event, which is untrue. We have not been able at this point to calculate complaint fatigue.

What we learned last summer in the court ruling that upheld the FAA’s ability to mandate routes based on noise complaints is that they matter—the complaints are data that matter. That was a precedent setting case.

 

So this summer more than ever, it’s important to call or log in with the town if you are affected by aircraft noise.

In terms of the complaint data, we are not raised to be complainers, and that is one of the reasons the data has shown a drop off. I know one person who logged 500 complaints before last year and just stopped. 500 complaints out of 3,000 for a summer is a huge percentage of that figure.

Part of our difficulty will be convincing those who used to call in to start calling in again. It takes a certain amount of dedication. But we really need this data. Recognize that this is a civic duty and you will really be contributing to an effort that will allow the Town of East Hampton to do something productive at the end of the calendar year.

Solar Farm Pitched for East Hampton Airport

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The East Hampton Airport could be going green in a big way.

Tonight, the town board plans to accept the recommendation of its energy sustainability committee and seek proposals for a solar farm at the airport that could produce up to 38 megawatts as part of an initiative sponsored by the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island, the company that manages the island’s electrical grid.

The solar farm would sell the power it generates to PSEG Long Island, and share the proceeds with the town through a 20-year lease.

According to Frank Dalene, the chairman of the committee, the solar farm, which he said would be one of the largest town-owned facilities in the country, could generate up to $3.5 million a year for the life of the lease.

“It’s at step one,” said Supervisor Larry Cantwell, “but it’s exciting. Besides providing a source of sustainable energy, it has the potential to bring in revenue.”

Although Mr. Cantwell said Mr. Dalene’s revenue estimate may be on the optimistic side, he was quick to point out, “Even at $1 million a year that would go a long way toward funding airport improvements.”

Because the airport revenues and expenses are segregated into a separate fund, all revenue generated from a solar farm at the airport would have to be used on site.

Mr. Dalene said the proposal is still in the early stages. “There are a lot of variables,” he said. PSEG Long Island “has to approve the contractors, the site and how it connects to the grid.”

Still, he said, in this latest phase, the company has committed to sponsoring larger renewable energy projects that could generate a total of 280 megawatts islandwide.

“They are looking for the East End to fulfill a certain amount of the need,” he said. “The transmission lines are beyond their peak, the local power stations on Buell Lane and Southampton are at capacity, so they are really going to focus on the East End.”

According to the Long Island Power Authority, the typical Long Island house uses 9,548 kilowatts of energy a year. Mr. Dalene said a 38-megwatt solar farm could generate nearly 46 million kilowatts a year, enough to provide power to approximately 4,600 houses, although he added, “It’s safe to say the typical East Hampton house consumes more electricity than a typical Long Island house.”

Last month, the town board agreed to ask three contractors to provide smaller solar arrays of no more than 2 megawatts apiece at 10 town-owned sites.

The board will also seek proposals for the energy committee’s recommendation to solicit proposals for peak power energy storage centers that would use new fuel cell battery technology to store electricity that is generated during low-volume use periods for release during peak periods. The battery plants would play a similar role to the small diesel operated power plants that are scattered across Long Island.

The town must renew the proposals it receives and make its recommendations to PSEG and LIPA by March 31.