MADISON – Analyzing the fruits of a seven-person committee on wind power will be the focus of an upcoming meeting in Madison.
Last summer, the town of Madison adopted a law enacting a one year moratorium on the issuance of permits for the construction of wind power facilities in the town in order to re-evaluate the town’s existing wind power regulations.
This moratorium directed the town planning board to appoint a Wind Advisory Committee to gather information and make recommendations to the town planning board.
The committee has completed its work, and has concluded that the development of wind power is a goal that can bring revenue to the town, said Jane Welsh, committee member.
The committee’s report and a proposed wind power facilities law for the town of Madison will be presented to the town planning board for its review and action at the board’s next regular meeting on Feb. 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the town office building, 7358 State Route 20 in Madison, and is open to the public.
Welsh said the proposed law represents an attempt to protect the town’s residential areas while, at the same time, permitting development in areas where landowners desire, or do not object to, the siting of large turbines on or near their property.
Welsh declined to provide details about the documents until the town planning board had a chance to review them; however, she did say the draft law would replace existing town regulations regarding the placement of wind farms within the town.
The report and draft law was given to the planning board last week for review.
Copies of the committee’s report and the proposed wind power facilities law will be available at the meeting.
These documents will also be posted on the town website at townofmadisonny.org promptly after the meeting, said Welsh.
In late June, the Madison town board unanimously passed a one-year moratorium on wind energy farms. At that time, the town board did not feel that current regulations regarding wind energy adequately protected town residents. The moratorium was enacted in part due to a June 11 public hearing where the majority of commenters supported the moratorium.
The moratorium is still in effect until June.
At the time of the moratorium, on the table was a $110 million, 36-turbine wind farm proposal which would add to the town’s existing 11 turbines. Houston-based EDP Renewable North America would construct the project. The developer has projects in New York, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, Indiana and Illinois.
As previously reported, last June, EDP officials have said they would not apply for a permit until 2014 after the moratorium had expired, with construction slated for 2015.
Welsh said that in December 2012, EDP sent a letter to the town withdrawing its permit application with the town and indicated the company would instead be obtaining a permit through the state Public Service Commission (PSC) through Article 10 of the state public service law.
This law, revamped in 2011, provides developers of electric-producing facilities (such as wind farms) the ability to deal directly with one entity, the state Board on Electric Siting and the Environment, in a unified proceeding rather that applying for numerous state and local permits to complete their project.
However, Welsh said there has been no word yet on the progress of the intent in EDP’s December letter, and no filing records were located on the PSC website.
Comment from EDP officials was unavailable in time for this report.
In 2000, seven turbines were installed in Madison, making it the first commercial wind farm in New York state and east of the Mississippi River.