"We have a lot of leg work to do, so I don’t know if we’ll be ready in December, or if it will be early next year," said David Little, project manager.
However, he said, in the next few months the company will be applying to erect wind turbines in Cherry Valley.
"We’re still studying the wind, which we have to do, and I can tell you Cherry Valley has some of the best wind in New York state," Little said.
Reunion’s personnel also are studying how the project on East Hill in Cherry Valley would affect the environment, he said.
"People want to know how many acres will be cleared, where roads will run," Little said, "and we want to be able to give them the answers."
Some project opponents have said Reunion wants to build more than 24 wind turbines. Little said Friday that 24 is the maximum number the firm will erect.
"This isn’t the first phase of the project; this is the only phase," he said.
Among problems the firm is working out, he said, is how best to deliver the power from the turbines to the state’s electrical grid.
Little said he thinks many Cherry Valley’s residents support the project. In the recent election, a candidate for town council who had been critical of the project, independent Nicholas Pressly, was defeated by Republican James Johnson. This result may indicate that while the town is divided, the project is popular among voters, he said.
Also winning election this month was Democrat Philip Durkin of Cherry Valley, who will represent District 7 on the Otsego County board after Jan. 1. Durkin has criticized the proposed project and has called for a moratorium on wind projects in the county.
"I still think a moratorium is a good idea," Durkin said Friday. "These things are going to be with us for 20 years, at least; there’s no need to rush into this."
Little said the approval process under the State Environmental Quality Review Act is designed to address all concerns about a project of this size.
"It’s not easy for a developer in New York state," he said. "SEQR is very complete and that’s the way we think it should be. We want this project to be as transparent as possible."
Little also said Reunion is prepared to make a sizeable payment in lieu of taxes to the town of Cherry Valley.
Durkin said he believes the Otsego County Board of Representatives may become more involved in the process because county assets, including roads, are involved. The $80 million proposed project will have an effect on the whole county, not just the town of Cherry Valley, he said.
Durkin noted that Reunion may study the project in depth but not proceed with it, as was the case with Global Winds Harvest, another developer that came to Cherry Valley to put up windmills but left after meeting opposition.