Reunion Power, which has proposed building 24 wind turbines in Cherry Valley, has joined forces with a larger firm, Edison Mission Energy.
Steve Eisenberg, Reunion’s managing director, said Tuesday that the firms have agreed to a “joint development agreement” to pursue wind projects in New York state.
The Cherry Valley project, which Reunion estimates will cost $100 million to build, is one of those projects, he said.
Eisenberg said Edison’s experience in constructing wind farms and its deep pockets should prove invaluable with the local project.
“With their considerable financial resources, we will not have to go through project financing from outside sources,” he said. The search for appropriate investors can be very time-consuming, and eliminating this step should help the company move forward quickly, he said.
Edison, the nation’s fifth-largest owner of wind-energy projects, is a seasoned builder of wind farms, which should help with the local project, Eisenberg said.
“We have had questions from the public about construction, such as how do we transport the turbines to their sites, and Edison’s experience should be very helpful with that,” he said.
Charley Parnell of Edison Mission said his firm views the agreement “as a win-win for us. We have a partner on the ground that has exercised due diligence with this project, and we are prepared to help them every step of the way.”
Edison will have representatives at local meetings, he said.
Eisenberg said officers at the firms have been talking about working jointly since spring but have been familiar with each other since 2002. Reunion, which is headquartered in Manchester, Vt., and Edison, which is based in Irvine, Ca., manage projects in Iowa.
Meanwhile, the East Hill Wind Farm is on hold at least until the town enacts a wind ordinance. The town board is considering whether to adopt an ordinance crafted by the town Planning Board.
Reunion’s project manager, David Little, has said the proposal is too strict in some areas, such as minimum required setbacks from property lines and maximum allowable noise levels, to make the project practical.
However, at public forums, most local residents who spoke said they favored the proposed ordinance and urged the town board to adopt it.
Monday night, the town board held a work session to review letters from the public about the proposed ordinance, according to town Councilman Fabian Bressett III.
Bressett said many letters were received, although he was not sure how many letter writers favored or opposed the proposed ordinance.
“I think the next step will be to tally that,” he said.
Weeks ago, as town Supervisor Thomas Garretson invited the public to write letters about the proposed ordinance, he said the town board would not consider petitions on the subject.
However, Cherry Valley residents who favor wind power and oppose the ordinance submitted a petition anyway, according to Barb Perry of Cherry Valley.
The petition contains more than 165 signatures of Cherry Valley residents, said Perry, a landowner who has agreed to have turbines set on her property.
“We think they have to accept a petition if they are seeking comment from the public,” she said.
Bressett said the petition was received but was separated from the rest of the correspondence. He was unsure whether the board will consider it, and the board may seek legal advice on the subject.
Andrew Minnig of Cherry Valley attended Monday’s meeting and said he believed that many more local residents wrote in support of the proposed ordinance than in opposition to it.
Minnig, a member of the Cherry Valley Advocates, noted that every public test of sentiment has shown that most Cherry Valley residents oppose the wind-turbine project.
If the town board had indicated it would receive petitions on the proposed wind ordinance, the Advocates would have submitted one, he said.
Minnig also downplayed Reunion’s agreement with Edison Mission.
“Reunion is not going to be able to buy its way in here,” he said. “Money ha
By Tom Grace
Cooperstown News Bureau
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