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Horizon Wind Park scales down proposal; fewer turbines, but taller

CLINTON – Horizon is scaling back its proposed wind park footprint, which may mean less money for local landowners.

The proposal reduces the number of turbines to be built in the towns of Clinton and Ellenburg from 109 to 74.

And, “in return, they’re replacing them with taller, more powerful turbines,” Daniel Spitzer, the Town of Clinton’s lawyer, said at the community’s first Wind Facility Planning Board meeting.

He said the total electrical output would remain the same as the original proposal.

Daniel Fitzgerald, Horizon’s project manager for the Marble River project, said the new turbines, Vestas v112, generate 0.9 megawatts more than the originals, going from 2.1 to 3, which allows them to reduce the footprint of the project.

The turbines will be 84 feet taller when the blade is in the upper-most position, Fitzgerald said.

“By decreasing the number of turbines, some people will not get as many turbines as they previously had (in the earlier proposal),” he said of the land leases.

But payment to the towns is per megawatt, not per turbine.

Fitzgerald said the new project will go to construction much sooner than the former, which was one of the reasons for the changes.

Horizon also signed a contract with Vestas, a wind-turbine manufacturer, which secured them a good deal on the turbines.

“It came out to be the best for the wind regime in this area,” he said.

“Obviously, we think this is a very good thing because we planned a project that generates as much power as before while reducing the environmental impact. It’s a really great thing, the fact that technology is moving onward, and we’re able to do this because of that.”

The permit modification will require impact studies, Spitzer said, before moving forward.

“They’ve been requested to get information regarding visual impacts, sound impacts and shadow flicker. It’s up to them to get us the information on time to have a public hearing.”

The public hearing is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at the Town Hall.

“We’re currently finalizing those studies,” Fitzgerald said. “We hope to see them in the next week.”

During the recent Wind Facility Planning Board meeting, the board moved to elect that the towns of Clinton and Ellenburg act as co-lead agencies for the modifications of the project under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The towns acted as co-lead agencies during the first proposal.