An application to develop a wind farm has been submitted to the Town of Centerville in Allegany County.
Noble Environmental Power is seeking approval of 55 turbines in a 100-megawatt wind energy generation facility that is expected to include another 12 turbines in the adjacent Town of Rushford.
Town Supervisor Frank Sardina confirmed Thursday that the company submitted the application to the town clerk Sept. 5 and the Town Board began reviewing it at Wednesday night’s regular board meeting.
The board also voted 4-0, with one abstention, to declare its intention to act as lead agency in the project and to accept the terms of an escrow agreement that will pay the fees of an engineering firm for its services during the town’s application review.
Town Councilman Mark Bliss abstained from voting because he has signed an easement agreement with Noble for placement of turbines. Sardina said Bliss, who also headed a wind energy committee before the town adopted its local law governing wind energy facilities, began abstaining from votes on the topic after signing the Noble easement.
According to Sardina, the application has been scaled back from the original plan for Centerville to receive 67 turbines because some of the landowners did not sign easements with Noble. As a result the remaining 12 turbines are planned for the Town of Rushford, which he said quickly drew up and adopted a new local law governing wind-energy facilities to accommodate the project. The complete array of 67 will produce 100.5 megawatts. Groundbreaking should begin in the spring of 2009, he added.
The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 to choose the engineering firm and already is looking at the qualifications of Conestoga-Rovers and Associates and Clark Patterson. Sardina said a third firm is being invited to apply.
If the application is deemed acceptable, the town is expected to ask Noble to prepare an environmental impact statement.
Sardina said after that point, the town should finalize negotiations with Noble for a host community agreement that will spell out the amount of revenue the town could receive for each megawatt in a payment-in-lieuof- taxes agreement.
“We have allowed things to be planted on our land. We are a dairy community and we will negotiate this,” he said.
The town’s wind energy law adopted last November is under attack by Centerville Concerned Citizens, a group of residents pursuing a court appeal on its claim that the town failed to conduct an environmental review before its passage. The claim was dismissed in a lower court on procedural issues.
Noble Environmental in April won a 10-year contract from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to supply 511 megawatts of consumer power under the Renewable Portfolio Standard Program. Though the Centerville project will not supply power for that contract, the company’s 67-turbine facility now under construction in the nearby Wyoming County Town of Eagle will provide about 100 megawatts of that quota.
By Kathy Kellogg
14 September 2007
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