December 22, 2006
New York

Wind-farm proposals for northeastern Franklin County

Two wind-farm projects have been formally proposed in northeastern Franklin County to generate 129 megawatts of electricity.

In all, 86 wind turbines would be erected: 72 in the Town of Chateaugay and 14 in the Town of Bellmont, said Mark Lyons, director of development for Noble Environmental Power.

The projects would be south of U.S. Route 11, east of Route 374 and north of the borderline of the Adirondack Park.

Easements were secured from 52 landowners in Chateaugay, covering 5,500 acres, and four property owners in Bellmont, totaling 800 acres.

In all, 115 parcels will be involved.

The new towers would be adjacent to the 2006 wind-farm project under construction in the Clinton County towns of Ellenburg, Clinton and Altona.

That close proximity means Noble will not have to build a second substation to transmit the generated electricity to power poles owned by the New York Power Authority.

It can use the one being built about a mile away for the 2006 project, saving the company millions of dollars.

Lyons said the Power Authority also prefers a one-stop power station rather than having several spread out with separate connection points.

Each tower would be 265 feet tall, with a General Electric 1.5-megawatt generator on top.

The towers will each hold a trio of 125-foot blades, which makes the entire assembly’s height about 389 feet, said Dan Boyd, the project developer.

The turbines will generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes for a year, he said.

The two new proposed wind farms would be contiguous – that is, they would be created next to each other.

And even though they are proposed in separate towns, the environmental review of the projects will be handled in one investigation, Lyons said.

The two towns have asked to be co-lead agencies for the state environmental quality review process, he said.

“The first big step for us will be filing a draft environmental-impact statement early next year,” Lyons said.

“After that, we will also be getting other agencies involved, and the towns will have to hire a consulting engineer.”

After suggestions for revisions are submitted and incorporated in the environmental report, public hearings will be held, seeking residents’ input on the proposed wind-farm projects.

Noble hopes that process will be completed by early summer.

The company is also working to secure a lease on space at the Chateaugay Industrial Park from the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency to build a multi-million-dollar construction-storage area for the materials and pieces of equipment it will need for wind-tower construction.

“We think Chateaugay is a great place to do business,” Lyons said. “Chateaugay and Bellmont have a high-level wind resource, but it’s not just the landowners and farmers who benefit from the easements.”

There will likely be a payment-in-lieu-of taxes agreement, but there will be a positive impact on school taxes and the communities, in general, Lyon said.

“Part of the SEQR is to develop a plan for historic preservation,” he said. “We gave $500,000 to Clinton County as part of our 2006 project for historic archives and buildings, and we’ll propose a similar plan here because Chateaugay has a number of historic properties.

“I think of wind-energy projects as lifting the whole town. By harvesting the wind, the entire town gets a lift, not just the farmers or property owners.”

By Denise A. Raymo
Staff Writer

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