Thanks to a new incentive program that helps make wind energy more accessible and affordable, many North Country residents now have the opportunity to power their homes with wind energy. Through the New York Energy $mart Wind Incentive Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is offering technical and financial assistance for small, non-commercial, grid-connected wind systems. The incentives can help offset installation costs by 15 to 70 percent.Albany, New York – March 18, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “With financial incentives in place and a growing network of qualified installers in the program, NYSERDA is making it easier for more homeowners to use wind energy,” said NYSERDA President Peter R. Smith. “Thanks to the Governor’s support and the public’s growing interest in clean energy, we are poised to expand the State’s use of clean, renewable power for our future energy needs.” To qualify for the incentive, the customer must pay into the System Benefits Charge (SBC), which is collected by Niagara Mohawk, a National Grid Company, New York State Electric and Gas, and other investor-owned utilities. SBC is a fee on the transmission of electricity, costing the average homeowner approximately $10 per year. In addition, the wind generator must be: – a qualified wind generator, – erected on a lot no smaller than one acre, – able to produce at least 500 watts of electricity, – connected to the local utility grid (grid-connected), as opposed to off-grid, where the system operates independently without utility power back-up, and – installed by an eligible installer, visit the link below for a complete list. “Wind is the fastest growing power source worldwide,” said Ann Heidenreich, spokesperson for the New York Energy $mart Communities Program in the North Country. “It’s a pollution-free, homegrown source of power that can make a significant contribution to our energy needs and generate jobs and economic development. Moreover, wind is one of the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy systems. Depending on local wind resources, a small wind energy system can lower electricity bills by 50 to 90 percent.” All New York Energy $mart programs are funded by a System Benefits Charge (SBC) paid by electric distribution customers of Central Hudson, Con Edison, NYSEG, Niagara Mohawk, Orange and Rockland, and Rochester Gas and Electric. NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation established by law in 1975, administers SBC funds and programs under an agreement with the Public Service Commission.