HAMMOND – A communications manager for Iberdrola Renewables says the company remains interested in pursuing a wind project in Hammond despite withdrawing the proposed Stone Church Wind Farm from a state list of potential energy projects.
“We don’t want people to come away thinking we’re not interested,” said Paul N. Copleman, of Iberdrola, on Wednesday. “We feel this is still a good area for a project.”
The New York Independent System Operator is responsible for overseeing operations for New York’s nearly 11,000 miles of high-voltage transmission and the dispatch of over 500 electric power generators. It maintains a running list of potential power projects, called an interconnection queue. Iberdrola added the Hammond project to the queue in 2008, and withdrew it earlier this month.
Uncertainty in Hammond, according to Mr. Copleman, including what he calls restrictive recommendations from the town’s wind committee, and a year-long moratorium on wind power development that expires in July, have ground Iberdrola’s progress to a halt.
“It doesn’t make sense to continue at this point,” he said.
The town board heard the news in a letter from Jenny Burke, Iberdrola business developer, Tuesday.
“Iberdrola has elected not to proceed with what would be the next step in the interconnection study process, the system reliability impact study, at this time,” the letter said.
Mr. Copleman said that Iberdrola is in the midst of a three-stage process, including the completed feasibility study. He explained that a feasibility study “examines the concept (of a wind farm) locally.”
Step two would involve a system reliability impact study, according to Mr. Copleman, and would occur when Iberdrola has “a better understanding of the size and scope,” of the project. He said such a study would look at “how the interconnection with the grid would occur.”
A facilities study would follow – what Mr. Copleman described as “the most detailed study yet and covering exactly what is entailed in order to connect,” with the grid.
“We would have an interconnection agreement with the grid to build at that point,” he said.
For now, Mr. Copeleman said, the ball lies in the town board’s court.
“We remain interested in working with the town board as they consider their next step,” Mr. Copleman said. “We’re able to move back onto the interconnection queue list when we’d like to proceed. We certainly hope and plan to.”
Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said Tuesday that he didn’t really know what Iberdrola’s decision to remove Stone Church from the NYISO list would mean for the project moving forward.
“We’ll continue to review the committee recommendations and move forward with establishing a workable wind law,” he said.
The final wind committee report is expected to get an airing at a special meeting at 7 p.m. March 28.
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