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Howard wind farm now on; EverPower expects to erect 25 turbines along Turnpike in spring

Howard, N.Y. – The winds of change are again blowing in Howard, as it seems that the wind project is going to happen after all.

EverPower Renewables was to build 25 wind turbines, each rated for 2.5 megawatts of power production in optimal wind conditions, along Turnpike Road and along the ridge above Stephens Creek and County Route 27.

The project was slated to begin in April when it was suddenly halted because EverPower had trouble selling renewable energy credits (RECs) from the project.

RECs, according to www.wisegeek.com, are certificates issued by a government agency to a power company which utilizes environmentally friendly methods to generate electricity. They can in turn be traded and sold on the open market, providing an incentive to companies which produce “green” power. Citizens and companies who are trying to support green power and reduce their carbon footprints can also take advantage of RECs, regardless as to the source of their power.

But it seems the company has worked through these issues.

“We are still committed to moving forward with the Howard Wind Project and plan to complete financing later this month and begin construction in the spring of 2011. The project is currently permitted for 25 turbines, and it is still our plan to move forward with those 25 turbines,” Kevin Sheen, senior director of development at EverPower, said in an email.

“We never considered the project dead,” Sheen continued. “There were a variety of economic conditions that did not allow us to build the project – most notably the fact that we did not get awarded a REC contract by NYSERDA. Some of the economic conditions have improved and we are hopeful that we will receive a REC contract from NYSERDA this time around.”

In May the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA) approved a 20-year PILOT agreement, worth $13,939,000, for all entities involved: the county, Howard, and Canisteo-Greenwood Central School and the Hornell City School District.

With the agreement, Howard was to receive 51.5 percent of the nearly $14 million, or $7,178,585. Steuben County would receive 16.5 percent, or $2,299,935.

The remaining 32 percent, $4,460,480, was to be split between the two school districts. Because 23 of the 25 turbines would have fallen in the Canisteo-Greenwood district, they were to receive 92 percent of the remaining money, or approximately $4,103,641. The Hornell school district would have received around $356,838.

Town Supervisor Don Evia said the agreement hasn’t changed.

“It’s good for the country. We all have to do something with the energy problems we have. I think it’s good for the town financially,” Evia said. “It’s good for the land owner. They’ll get more revenue from their land. I think it’s win-win for everybody.”

He’s confident the project will begin this spring, though he’ll feel better once it actually starts.

“I’m very confident it will be built in 2011. I have all the faith in the world,” Evia said. “When the shovel goes in the ground, then I’ll feel very good.”