DIX–With the town of Catlin’s recent public hearings regarding a wind turbine setback, the discussion of a $200 million wind turbine project across Schuyler and Chemung Counties has seen new momentum. The project was proposed by NextEra Energy to potentially add 50-75 wind turbines across both counties to generate wind power for the area. However, NextEra officials say research is still ongoing and they do not have a set number for how many turbines will be located in the town of Dix.
“The Watkins Glen Wind project is in the early stages of development,” Senior Communication Specialist with NextEra Energy Shannon Strahan said. “We are currently doing wind and environmental studies and talking with landowners and other stakeholders to assess interest, which means that our turbine siting plan continues to be a work in progress. Once we gather enough data, we will make a decision to start permitting the project. If approved, the $200 [million] Watkins Glen Wind project would provide tremendous economic benefits to the local community, such as new jobs, revenue sharing and up to $30 [million] in tax revenue that would go directly to the local community.”
Strahan said there is no determined number of turbines set, adding the 50 to 75 number is a target range and it “could vary outside that range.” She said it depends on the results of the environmental studies, local law restrictions and the Article 10 process, which regards the process for the siting of electric generating facilities.
Strahan said the company intends to start Article 10 permitting in the spring of 2015 and expects a decision in the fall of 2016. She said a prerequisite to the Article 10 permitting is a public involvement program, which will commence a minimum of 150 days before they can begin Article 10. Strahan said the project will have no net cost to the towns or counties involved in the project.
Since the project was first proposed, Hector Supervisor Benjamin Dickens said the towns of Hector and Catharine have since been dropped from the proposal. Catlin Supervision LaVerne Phelps said his town has been holding public meetings this month to discuss the setback law required for the project to continue. He said the meetings have drawn more than 50 people, some of whom have expressed concerns with the project. Phelps said the town has a public information forum set for Saturday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. to present more information to the public. There is currently no public forum scheduled for Schuyler County residents regarding the project.
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