ARKPORT – Construction on a proposed Hornell-Hartsville wind farm could begin in 2016 with commercial operations underway in 2017, a top official with EverPower Wind Holdings told the Hornellsville Town Board Tuesday night.
The company may site 10 to 12 turbines producing 30 megawatts. A wind farm of that size could generate $200,000 annually in PILOT revenue, with a portion of those funds going to the town of Hornellsville. The company also pays for repairs and upgrades to the local roads it uses during construction.
The Pitsburgh-based wind company continues to move forward on the early stages of its latest local development, with EverPower putting the final touches on a “Public Involvement Plan” before it is submitted to the New York state Public Service Commission.
The company has completed important research, with favorable results, the EverPower executive said.
“We have done several years worth of wind studies, and the wind is about what we expected; it’s pretty good,” said Kevin Sheen, senior director of development with EverPower. “We completed our Avian impact studies and got, not an all clear, but a pretty all clear, on eagles and northern long-eared bats. We also did a study on the FAA, which is important in this area due to the airport. The airport is going to limit (us) a little bit, but not anything so significant that can’t be overcome.”
This phase of the permitting process gets local residents involved, Sheen pointed out.
The (Public Involvement Plan) lays out a (process) for providing information and for getting feedback about the project to the towns that will be impacted,” Sheen said. “We submit the plan to the Public Service Commission, which we will do by the middle of next week, they have 30 days to give input back, they will make suggestions, changes, what have you, and then it will be released.”
The plan will include a slate of information meetings, an online description of the wind farm, and a listing of project sites. While the town board does not have the power to approve or reject the wind farm, it does have “a vested interest” in the development, with the right to hire consultants and make official requests for information.
EverPower developed and operates a wind farm in Howard. According to Sheen, that development generated increased interest in Hornellsville and Hartsville.
“We have always had people in this area say, ‘Hey, when are you going to come and do something in our area?'” Sheen said.
Sheen said EverPower has about 35 to 40 percent of the land it is seeking, a pace he indicated that he is satisfied with, although progress can sometimes be slow.
“The land in Hornellsville and Hartsville, it’s not as much farm land, it is more recreational land,” Sheen said. “Generally speaking, it takes longer to reach those people. There are a lot more absentee land owners.”
Sheen is scheduled to brief the Hartsville’s town board tonight.
In other business Tuesday, new Councilman Bob Mauro was sworn into office as the town reorganized for the new year. Mauro was elected in November. Dr. Bruce MacKellar was reappointed Local Health Officer for a four-year term. James VanBrunt will stay on the planning board, with the council approving a new five-year term for him. Former town board member Joseph Dick was appointed as an alternate to the planning board.
The board also agreed to hire Bergman Associates to conduct a flood survey of the Kmart plaza area. The contract with Bergman is for approximately $11,400, with town officials hopeful that the area can eventually cast off its flood plain designation.
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