The Final Environmental Impact Statement has yet to be completed, but the Spitzer Administration is showering largesse on Community Energy’s 68-turbine Jordanville Wind Project.
The project is one of nine wind projects ““ 21 clean-energy projects in all, when hydroelectric and biomass are included ““ targeted for $295 million in “performance incentives” in Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s speech, “15 by 15, A Clean Energy Strategy for New York,” delivered to Crain’s Breakfast Business Roundtable in New York City on Thursday, April 19. He said such incentives have attracted $2 billion in private investment to date in clean energy.
The incentives were announced jointly by NYSERDA (the state Energy Research & Development Agency) and the state Public Service Commission in conjunction with Spitzer’s speech, but few speech, but few details were immediately forthcoming from those quarters.
NYSERDA spokesperson Colleen Ryan said she didn’t know how much has been set aside for the Jordanville project in particular, and she said the specifics of Community Energy’s bid ““ how much it planned to produce in return for what state incentive ““ wouldn’t be made public because it was part of a “competitive solicitation.”
She also said, if anyone objects, there is no appeals process within NYSERDA.
At the PSC, spokesperson Anne Dalton said her agency’s role is to issue a “certificate of public convenience and necessity,” but that would await adoption of the impact statement.
In Jordanville, Warren Town Supervisor Richard Jack, who has supported the local wind project, said, “More power to them (Community Energy); I’m glad they’re keeping the money in New York State.”
At Holy Trinity Monastery, the center of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, Father Luke Murianka, the deputy abbott, when told of the incentives, responded, “Are you serious?”
The monks issued a statement a month ago objecting to the project, and the Community of St. Elizabeth, six nuns affiliated with the monastery followed up a few weeks later. However, Father Luke declined to comment further, saying, “Right now, we have a little bit of a legal problem.” He declined to get any more specific.
Sue Brander of Advocates for Stark didn’t mince words. “It’s throwing away upstate; that’s what I think of it,” said the Van Hornesville woman.
In Cooperstown, Otsego 2000 Executive Director Martha H. Frey said, while the governor’s “15 by 15″ plan has much going for it, clean-energy policy “shouldn’t be reduced to a sound bite.”
“The State of New York should not rush to establish public policies that could destroy Upstate New York by siting enormous wind power projects in the wrong places,” Frey said, noting the impact the 68 turbines would have on the Glimmerglass National Historic District and the Route 20 Scenic Byway. She also expressed concerns about blasting of karst limestone atop the southern Herkimer aquifer.
The Jordanville Wind Project would erect the 5-6 dozen windmills along a ridge that runs east-west across southern Herkimer County from Van Hornesville in the Town of Stark to Jordanville in the Town of Warren.
The Warren Town Board, which is the lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review process, met Monday, April 23, but went into executive session instead of approving the impact statement, as some suggested.
Bernard Melewski, the Saratoga Springs lawyer who is representing the town in this matter, said he had to discuss a “legally confidential” issue with the town board, which will meet again Friday, May 4, and again will consider the impact statement. It can approve that document without making it public in advance, Melewski said, but the town board would have to issue permits before construction can begin, and that would require a further public hearing.
He said “I presume there are contingencies” before the state would issue the incentives to Community Energy.
27 April 2007
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