SOMERSET – Discussion about a potential wind-powered plant was tabled by the Somerset Town Board on Tuesday, while the board reaffirmed its support for AES Corp. to build a second power plant in the town.
The board unanimously approved a nearly identical resolution to one they passed more than a year ago, stating that the board endorses AES in a bid for a State Power Authority contract to build a $1 billion “clean coal” power plant, which would create about 100 positions and more than 1,000 construction jobs.
While the contract has already been awarded to NRG Energy’s Huntley Station in the Town of Tonawanda, the company has struggled to win state approval for cost-effective energy generation.
Mayor Richard J. Meyers said the town needed to “present a united front” if AES is reconsidered for the project.
In September, State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. defeated a lawsuit brought by the town and the Barker Central School District against AES, which stated that the company had committed fraud by using its bid for the state contract to obtain a $43.4 million tax reduction through a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
The suit claimed AES would have bid for the plant regardless of whether it won the PILOT deal.
The board had planned to discuss and possibly vote on a proposed host agreement with Empire State Wind Energy to build energy-generating windmills in the town, but Meyers said the company had only sent over a contract with requested revisions earlier that day, which left town attorneys no time to look it over.
Meyers said the town and Empire, owned by billionaire businessman B. Thomas Golisano, have only one disagreement on the contract at this point, involving civil litigation restrictions.
Councilwoman April C. Gow asked that the discussion be tabled to the board’s next meeting, Jan. 8.
“I’m assuming that by Jan. 8, this thing is going to be ironclad and ready to sign,” Meyers said.
By Kevin Purdy
12 December 2007
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