Madison, NY – Officials from the first town in New York State to welcome windmills are now considering the area’s biggest wind power project to date.
Plans for Rolling Upland Wind Farm call for erecting 36 turbines spread across 7,500 acres south of Route 20 in the town of Madison.
Developers of the $110 million project don’t anticipate commencing construction until 2015. But the project is expected to create eight permanent jobs, as well as dozens of temporary jobs during construction.
A special planning board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the municipal offices, 7358 Route 20, Madison.
The state’s first seven windmills went up in Madison in 2000. The 11.55 megawatt project generates enough electricity to power approximately 3,000 homes a year.
Two years later, 20 turbines went up in the town of Fenner – at the time, the largest project of its kind east of the Mississippi River at the time. It generates enough electricity to power up to 10,000 homes.
In 2007, the number of windmills in Madison County nearly doubled when 23 windmills built on 3,500 acres in Stockbridge, Madison and Eaton and in the Oneida County town of Augusta started spinning their way to electricity generation.
Madison County Planning Director Scott Ingmire said developers from EDP Renewables North America approached him about a year ago to discuss the new project for the town of Madison.
Ingmire said each turbine will generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity, for a total capacity of 57.6 megawatts.
With 20 wind farms in the United States, EDP Renewables North America – also known as Horizon Wind Energy – develops, constructs, owns and operates wind farms throughout North America.
The developer purchased the existing Madison Wind farm about eight years ago. Its resume includes Maple Ridge, a 195-turbine wind farm about 75 miles northeast of Syracuse in Lewis County, and Marble River, a 90-turbine project under construction that will span more than 11,000 acres in Clinton County.
Project Manager Jeffrey Nemeth cited five factors that brought the developer back to the town of Madison:
Wind resource. “Changing technology has made the area even more attractive,” he said of wind speeds in the town of Madison.
Land use. The rural landscape – primarily used for farming, growing hay and grazing cows – remains “very compatible” with wind turbines, Nemeth said.
Transmission. Nemeth said only minor changes will be needed to tap into existing transmission lines.
Community acceptance. Existing projects in the town of Madison – as well as neighboring townships of Stockbridge, Eaton and Fenner – have created to a general knowledge of wind farms.
Power sales. “There is a strong market in New York State for selling electricity (from windmills), Nemeth said.
The Madison town planning board is expected to initiate an environmental review of the project at Thursday’s meeting.
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