HOBART – Details of a plan that calls for 34 industrial wind turbines to be erected on a 6-mile ridgeline between Stamford and Roxbury will be reviewed at a public meeting here Wednesday.
Chicago-based Invenergy Wind, an energy development firm, wants to construct the 3.0 megawatt wind turbines on the Moresville Range between the two towns. Local residents have been divided over whether wind farms would be an asset or a detriment to their communities and to the Catskill region in general.
“We know that this is the first step in an ongoing process,” said Eric Miller, project manager for Invenergy, who will give a presentation detailing the project on Wednesday at the Stamford Town Hall in Hobart, about 90 miles east of Binghamton.
“We’ve taken the time to thoroughly review our proposal and make sure that it is the best project that we can present to the community,” Miller said.
A press release issued by Invenergy noted the proposed “mid-sized” wind farm, named the Moresville Energy Center project, is expected to produce 268 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or enough to power 45,000 “typical New York homes.” On-site transmission lines and existing roads will be used in the construction and operation of the farm, Miller said.
Miller called the Moresville Range “a great location for a medium-sized wind project.”
The company also predicted the project could pay about $800,000 in taxes to local governments annually and employ five full-time workers. Miller said the firm expects the local operations center to generate an annual payroll of $200,000 and pay an estimated $600,000 a year in royalties to landowners, for a total of $1.6 million in “direct economic benefits to the host communities.”
Nancy Haycock, a resident of Hobart who has followed the proposal closely, said she wanted to see details that support Invenergy’s projected financial benefits. She also wanted to get a better idea of what the finished project would look like.
“I’d really like to know how tall the turbines will be,” she said. “If they are anything like 400-foot tall, they’re going to be interfering with someone’s view.”
Miller said the so-called hub height of the turbines, or the point at which the blades connect to the steel tower, will be 262 feet. The so-called tip height, or the end of a blade extended vertically, will be 410 feet. Miller said construction plans call for setbacks from local residences of 2,000 feet with “limited view shed impacts.” A view shed is the area that can see the turbines.
Various wind turbines projects have been proposed for several towns and villages, including Bovina, Hancock, Andes and Tompkins, all of which have passed moratoriums to allow town boards to study the pros and cons. The controversial issue embraces matters that range from real estate values and the impact on wildlife to the national need for alternative energy sources and local economic benefits.
“Because of the location of this particular project, you have the opportunity to produce clean, emission-free electricity with little or negligible impact on the environment and the view shed,” Miller said.
Among local residents who support the project are Mary and Dennis Brockway, who said they have been approached about leasing some of their land but have not signed a contract.
“I intend to do everything I can to see that this happens,” Brockway said. Mary Brockway said she has faith that local board members will be able to put ordinances in place to protect area residents.
If Invenergy is successful, Miller said, construction would begin as early as 2008.
By Samme Chittum
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