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Wind project edging along  

Developer aims to put 50 turbines in town.

HAMMOND – The developer of Maple Ridge Wind Farm wants to install 50 wind turbines in the town.

William M. Moore Jr., director of development for PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., said the proposed 100-megawatt project could cost an estimated $200 million.

The project would consist of 50 2-megawatt turbines, reaching a height of nearly 410 feet each.

The earliest wind turbines could be erected here is at least three years, because companies that build turbines are backlogged with orders for other projects.

Several obstacles remain for the project, including determining how to transmit the electricity generated, conducting environmental studies and obtaining the acceptance of landowners and the proper permits.

The wind project would be the first in St. Lawrence County.

“We’re measuring the winds here and interested in building a wind farm here,” said Mr. Moore, whose company has been measuring wind speeds near Chippewa Bay since 2005. “It’s windy here.”

PPM Energy has a test tower to measure wind speeds on property near the St. Lawrence River on County Route 6. The company will erect a few more test towers this summer in other areas of the town to collect additional wind data.

The wind power developer has recently been pursuing lease agreements with several property owners for the project. Mr. Moore said he hopes to have signed lease agreements with property owners in the next few months.

Crayton L. Buck, chairman of the town’s wind power committee, said residents seem interested in the project. About two dozen people attended Tuesday’s committee meeting with PPM Energy.Several were seeking answers about setbacks, size of the turbines and how they work.

“It helps them build good relations with the public and give people a better understanding of the project,” Mr. Buck said.

The wind power committee was formed to craft an ordinance to regulate wind farms in the town. 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, including PPM Energy.

Last month, the Hammond Town Council enacted an eight-month moratorium on the construction of wind energy facilities within the town. The moratorium will give the committee time to carefully craft regulations for wind farms. A draft ordinance should be finished about May.

“They have given us some ideas,” Mr. Buck said. “It has been very helpful to members of the community.”

PPM Energy, which is half owner of the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi on Tug Hill in Lewis County, plans to submit an interconnection application later this year to the New York Independent System Operator.

The NYISO is the nonprofit gatekeeper for allowing new power producers on the state’s grid. The agency will determine what infrastructure upgrades will be necessary to get the power safely on the grid.

The closest transmission line is in the hamlet of Brier Hill, about 6 miles from the village of Hammond, Mr. Moore said. The transmission line runs from a substation into the city of Ogdensburg.

About 20 miles of access roads will have to be constructed for the wind project, allowing the installation and maintenance of the turbines. The company hasn’t determined how the turbines will reach Hammond, but one possibility could be through the Port of Ogdensburg.

By David Winters
Times Staff Writer

Watertown Daily Times

27 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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