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State to fund Franklin County wind farm  

Credit:  By EJ CONZOLA II | PUBLISHED: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014 | www.mpcourier.com ~~

A long-dormant wind farm project planned for the towns of Chateaugay and Bellmont has received a shot of capital from New York state.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Jericho Rise Wind Farm project is one of four renewable energy projects that will receive a combined $206 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The Jericho Rise Wind Farm is a 53-turbine wind farm that is expected to generate roughly 80 megawatts of energy when completed, enough to power about 25,000 homes.

Of the 53 turbines, 34 will be located in the town of Chateaugay and 19 in the town of Bellmont, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Jericho Rise was first proposed more than a decade ago, but little has been done since 2009, when developer Horizon Wind Energy of Houston put the project on hold.

Horizon officials did not respond to telephone calls and emails seeking comment.

The actual amount each project will receive will be determined by a formula based on the amount of energy they produce, said Alan Wechsler, a spokesman for NYSERDA. Part of the money will be provided over the course of construction, but the bulk of the funds will be released over time based on the number of megawatts of power produced, he said.

In total, the projects are expected to add about 164 megawatts of new capacity to the state’s electrical grid.

“As New York continues to develop a world-class energy infrastructure, these new projects are reinforcing our commitment to providing clean energy to all New Yorkers,” Gov. Cuomo said in the release announcing the funding. “Through these and other innovative energy projects supported by the state, we are developing a more sustainable mechanism for delivering cleaner, more reliable and resilient energy.”

Local officials said they were caught off guard by the governor’s announcement.

“It’s been a while since we dusted off those books,” Chateaugay Supervisor Don Bilow said, noting he has heard nothing about the project in recent years.

Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell also said he hadn’t heard anything about the project for some time.

“I’ll be very happy to hear from our friends at Horizon,” he said. “I’m just thrilled to think that’s coming.”

The project was controversial when it was first proposed, with local officials raising concerns about the environmental impacts of the 400-foot plus turbine towers. But Mr. Russell said those environmental concerns were “set aside nicely” when Horizon completed an environmental impact statement.

Mr. Russell also said that when Horizon put Jericho Rise on hiatus in 2009, the company had said it would revive the project when conditions were more conducive to its development.

“Things are unfolding very much like Horizon said,” Mr. Russell said.

The other projects are the Arkwright Summit Wind Farm in Chautauqua County, a hydroelectric plant in Oneida County and a village of Wappingers Falls hydro project in Dutchess County.

Source:  By EJ CONZOLA II | PUBLISHED: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014 | www.mpcourier.com

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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