HAMMOND – A wind power developer is pursuing lease agreements with several property owners for a potential wind farm project.
PPM Atlantic Renewable, a subsidiary of PPM Energy, Portland, Ore., recently began talking with landowners about acquiring property as sites for wind turbines, company officials said Tuesday. No timetable was available for when the project could begin or the number of wind turbines to be built. The project would be a first in St. Lawrence County.
The company, a partner in Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, is considering a wind farm in the town of Hammond. PPM has a test tower to measure wind speeds on property near the St. Lawrence River on County Route 6.
“We’re exploring our options there,” PPM spokeswoman Jan Johnson said. “We’re confirming that yes, we have begun discussions with landowners.”
Crayton L. Buck, chairman of the town’s wind power committee, said he’s heard of residents being approached. The committee is recommending a moratorium until October on the construction of wind turbines in the town.
The Town Council will hold a public hearing at 8 p.m. Monday at Hammond Town Hall on a proposed measure.
“It is just for the purpose we don’t want anything happening before passing an ordinance,” Mr. Buck said. “It gives us time to get our work done and have public hearings on it. The Town Council can rescind the moratorium at any time.”
The committee was created to examine the effect that wind turbines would have on the community. The committee, composed of community residents and alternative-energy experts, is using a model wind farm ordinance created by the St. Lawrence County Planning Board and Environmental Management Council as a guide.
The model will help it create regulations for wind farms, including setbacks, heights and locations for turbines. The committee has spent the past several months collecting information and talking with wind turbine experts. A draft ordinance should be finished by late spring, Mr. Buck said.
The committee’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at a location to be determined. PPM officials will meet with the committee sometime next month to discuss wind turbines.
Some advantages to having wind turbines include royalties from towers for property owners who host them, property taxes that the school district, town and county would receive on the development and the addition of renewable power to feed the grid.
Proponents of wind farms say the turbines are more environmentally friendly energy sources than fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Opponents say that windmills towering 400 feet above farm fields are an eyesore and a danger to birds and other wildlife, and that the power generated is not reliable enough to retire carbon-fueled power plants.
PPM officials said some obstacles need to be resolved, including determining how to transmit the electricity generated, before a wind farm could come here.
“There’s a lot of wind up there to support a wind farm,” Ms. Johnson said.
By David Winters
Times Staff Writer
6 February 2008
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