HOUNSFIELD – Town officials say the developer who led the Maple Ridge wind project in Lewis County plans to revive the Galloo Island Wind Farm proposal scrapped by Upstate NY Power Corp., but his plan calls for an underwater transmission route and fewer turbines than the original version.
Hounsfield Town Supervisor Timothy W. Scee said Monday that William M. Moore, principal of Albany-based Hudson Energy Development LLC, plans to make major changes to the original 246-megawatt, 82-turbine project that was proposed by Upstate NY of West Seneca on the island in Hounsfield.
Mr. Scee, who held a meeting with Mr. Moore about the project in late 2014, said it calls for 32 turbines that would each generate about 3.3 megawatts of power, totaling about 106 megawatts.
Mr. Moore, who did not return a call Monday seeking comment, plans to put a transmission line under Lake Ontario that would run to Oswego County, Mr. Scee said. He could not confirm the length of the proposed route, or the substation that the underwater line would deliver electricity to under the plan.
It appears likely that the underwater transmission line could run from the island to the town of Scriba in Oswego County – a route of about 50 miles that was designed as an alternative by Upstate NY.
The developer, who rejected that underwater route because it would have added about $32 million to the project cost, had instead proposed to build a 50.6-mile transmission line from the island to a substation in the town of Mexico that would have crossed about 40 miles of mainland in the towns of Henderson, Sandy Creek, Richland and Mexico. But that $153 million proposal faced opposition from farmers and landowners in the region who would have been impacted by the overland line.
Because the underwater route proposed by Hudson Energy would not run through neighboring towns, it would not require approval from them, Mr. Scee said. The proposal would need to be approved by the Hounsfield Town Council and state Public Service Commission.
Mr. Scee said he believes the proposed underwater route will give the project a better chance of being approved by the state than Upstate NY’s contentious proposal.
“It would relieve some of the tension and concerns about intrusion that town of Henderson residents had,” he said, adding he didn’t expect a developer would decide to bring Upstate NY’s proposal back to life. “I thought that the Galloo Island plan was kind of dead. But the consistent wind on the island makes it a very favorable target in New York state, and it wasn’t too surprising that another developer would pick up on that and move forward.”
Touting the potential economic impact of the project, Mr. Scee added he is confident it could be well-received in the region. If the developer decides to seek a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, it would have to be approved by Hounsfield, Jefferson County and Sackets Harbor Central School District.
“People way offshore in Jefferson County would see a benefit in reduced taxes from the wind farm, and it would be additional revenue for the county, town and school,” he said.
Town Councilman Stephen H. Lee, who also met with Mr. Moore, said the turbines proposed on the island should not be a major concern among residents who could see them from afar. He said the turbines would be roughly 7 miles from the shoreline of Henderson.
“We need somewhere with a good location, and I think this is out far enough where there shouldn’t be too much noise or interference,” Mr. Lee said.
Upstate NY had asked the state Public Service Commission to approve the construction of its line in January 2009. But the developer’s plan stalled in the fall of 2011, when the New York Power Authority denied its proposal for a power purchase agreement.
The PSC rejected Upstate NY’s transmission line application in the summer of 2013, noting the developer had been silent for more than a year about its plan. The developer, which had floated the idea of selling power to Fort Drum, was unable to find a customer willing to buy electricity from the wind farm.
Mr. Moore, who worked on Wall Street before becoming a renewable energy developer, has been active in the industry since 1979, according to Hudson Energy’s website. Before co-founding Hudson Energy in late 2012, he served as CEO for Deepwater Wind of Providence, R.I., since 2009. While there, he managed the developer’s effort to secure approvals needed for Block Island Wind Farm, a 30-megawatt, five-turbine project in Rhode Island that is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
In 1999, Mr. Moore, who was then the owner of Atlantic Renewable Corp., of Maryland, started showing up at Lewis County farms and town halls to propose a Tug Hill wind farm. Though his initial proposal was for 50 turbines, the project grew into a 195-turbine, 320-megawatt wind farm – the largest one east of the Mississippi River. Completed in 2006, the Maple Ridge Wind Farm encompasses the towns of Martinsburg, Harrisburg and Lowville.
Atlantic Wind eventually partnered with Zilkha Renewable Energy for the project, but both companies have changed names and ownership several times, with Mr. Moore’s company having been bought out by PPM Energy of Portland, Ore.
PPM is now part of the Spanish company Iberdrola Renewables, which is the primary owner of Maple Ridge.
Iberdrola USA owns Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas.
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