ALBION – When the Orleans County EDA drafted its wind farm policy in 2007, it followed Wyoming County’s lead.
Wyoming’s example still fits Orleans’s vision, EDA officials said, with no changes planned for the proposed Lighthouse Wind project looming in the northwest section of Yates.
Representatives of Apex Clean Energy, the Virginia firm pursuing the project, have expressed an interest in working with the agency, Orleans EDA CEO Jim Whipple told board members Friday.
Whipple said the EDA will take a passive role in promotion of the project, which Apex projects to produce up to 200 megawatts of energy through 60 to 70 turbines in Yates and Somerset.
“We’ve never gotten this far on a wind project, but it still hasn’t come officially to us or the Yates Town Board,” Whipple said. “Yates would definitely be in the lead, we’d only act on their request.”
The EDA’s wind energy policy says any involvement from the agency would come in the form of a PILOT agreement with Orleans County, the Lyndonville School District and Yates as beneficiaries.
The incentives offered as part of the PILOT would be tied to energy produced and not site-specific property value increases from the installation of wind turbines. EDA Counsel Diane Church said the policy mirrors those in Wyoming County.
“For these types of projects, the payment based on production capacity – dollar per megawatt,” Church said. “(It would be arranged) so the taxing jurisdictions benefit, and not just host community.”
Whipple said the PILOT benefits to taxing municipalities would likely small compared to any host agreement that Yates would receive.
n Orleans County appeared only twice in the 140-page list of project awards announced Thursday through the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils.
The lack of notice didn’t raise alarms for the EDA, Barone said, due to how the EDA’s schedule is aligned.
“If you just look at the awards made by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, you’ll see only the one (Intergrow) there,” Barone said. “We go out of sequence because businesses doing a project (in Orleans County) do it when they need to do it.”
“They can’t wait on the state.”
The $600,000 announced to aid Intergrow’s greenhouse expansion is part of $4 million in incentives brought to local projects in 2014.
Whipple said the state investment, largely tied to major projects at Brunner International, Intergrow and a third project Whipple said will be announced in the coming weeks, is strong compared to past years.
“It’s only three major projects, but there was a lot of money coming in and a good number of jobs created,” Whipple said.
— EDA board members saw a preview of the new Orleans Development website, which consultant Andina Barone said will go live next week.
The EDA will also be launching an electronic newsletter that will reach a 4,000-strong list of local officials, regional development staff and prospective business clients.
— A 4 percent increase in the salaries of Whipple, Barone and Diane Blanchard was approved by the EDA board.
“We get a lot of horsepower out of the staff we have,” John Misiti said in forwarding the raise. “I wish we could give them more.”
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