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Wind farm routes debated  

Credit:  By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 29 October 2010 ~~

Galloo Island Wind Farm developer Upstate NY Power Corp. will stall looking at possible land-based transmission line routes while it examines an underwater route.

The developer told the state Public Service Commission that an underwater route requires an up-front buyer for the electricity from the project.

In an Oct. 21 letter following up on an Oct. 13 conference call, attorney Robert W. Burgdorf, Nixon Peabody, Buffalo, said the subaquatic route for a line from Galloo Island to a substation in the town of Scriba requires more investigation into engineering, regulatory, financing and technical considerations.

“Most importantly, for the sub-aquatic route to be even potentially viable, a threshold requirement is that the applicant must obtain a sufficient contract for power off-take,” also known as a power purchase agreement, he wrote.

Kevin J. Casutto, administrative law judge in the case, filed a ruling Wednesday that allows the developer to study the feasibility of the underwater route.

“In the event the applicant concludes that the sub-aquatic route is feasible, it will become the applicant’s primary proposed route,” he said.

Jefferson and Oswego counties are proponents of the underwater route after local residents rose up in opposition to the developer’s preferred route. The preferred route made landfall in Henderson, then ran south through Ellisburg to a substation in the town of Mexico.

“I’m pleased that the underwater route is getting the due diligence that it’s deserving of but would’ve expected that would have taken shape long before now, given what the public sentiments have been in the communities that would have been impacted,” said Jefferson County Legislator Barry M. Ormsby, who led opposition to the overland preferred route in Jefferson County.

He thought “we’d be further along in the investigative process in terms of researching other paths our board had requested eight months ago.”

But he said that the commission has been “very responsive” to landowners’ concerns and questions.

H. Douglas Barclay, who is helping Oswego County lawmakers on the transmission line, said, “I don’t have much confidence in what the people who want to build the transmission line say or do.”

The letter and request for more time could be a stalling device, he said.

“They are going to do whatever is in their best interest, not in the best interest of Oswego County,” he said. “They can say it’s not feasible now to put it underwater.”

In the letter, the developer again mentioned the preferred route as the most feasible.

“While the original proposed route and the other land-based alternatives present the most reasonably economic method of delivering the power from the project to the public, the sub-aquatic alternative has the advantage of being preferable from an aesthetic standpoint,” Mr. Burgdorf wrote.

Mr. Burgdorf would not answer any additional questions on the transmission line, he said via e-mail.

Teleconferences are planned for 2 p.m. Jan. 26 and 2 p.m. April 14 to report the status of a power purchase agreement and analysis of the four possible routes.

Source:  By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 29 October 2010

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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