COPENHAGEN – The town of Denmark is waiting on OwnEnergy, Inc. to complete the detailed engineering work for the Copenhagen Wind Farm Holdings LLC project.
The project is being jointly developed by OwnEnergy and members of the Denmark community, according to the company’s website.
Town Attorney Mark. G. Gebo said all of the environmental work, which took a year, has been completed and the Town Council and Planning Board have given preliminary approval for the project, pending the engineering work.
The project developers have also proposed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. In January, Mr. Gebo gave the town a proposed financial term sheet, which is a basic agreement for the PILOT.
The proposal was for a 20-year PILOT to be administered by the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency, based on the initial figure of $8,400 per megawatt produced. The PILOT specifics have not been finalized, according to the finding statement submitted to the Lewis County Planning Board. But the PILOT structure the company is looking at is $640,000 for the first year of the project, with an estimated total of $15.5 million over 20 years.
According to the finding statement, however, the farm will produce at 35 percent of its total capacity, which is about 28 megawatts. At $8,400 per megawatt, the pilot may yield $235,200. The $640,000 is based on 77 megawatts of production.
Linda D. Hoskins, real property tax services director, said the Flat Rock Wind Power towers were assessed at $2.8 million apiece. The town assessors from Harrisburg, Lowville and Martinsburg agreed to assess the towers at the same value, Mrs. Hoskins said.
The total assessment for the county for Flat Rock is $555,455,600, she said. Harrisburg has 51 towers with an assessed value of $224,155,000, so a project with 47 towers likely would be assessed at $212,955,000.
The tax rate for the county is $7.58 per $1,000 of assessed value. The town of Denmark’s rate is $6.98 for the project site and Copenhagen Central School District’s rate for the town of Denmark is $8.91. The annual tax liability without a PILOT is $1.486 million for the town, $1.614 million for the county and $1.898 million for the school district. The tax tab, without a PILOT, is $4.998 million per year at today’s tax rates.
Denmark approved a resolution Jan. 12 to accept the Copenhagen Wind Farm LLC project financial term sheet.
Thomas A. Campany, agency counsel, said the PILOT has not come to the IDA level and there is no tentative agreement.
Mr. Campany said the IDA and OwnEnergy were working on an agreement, but it stalled when OwnEnergy needed to get easements from property owners in Jefferson County to run the transmission lines to the grid.
Jefferson County IDA CEO Donald C. Alexander said OwnEnergy has not requested a PILOT from his agency.
The portion of the project in Jefferson County is for transmission lines, Mr. Alexander said. The JCIDA does not do PILOTs on transmission lines and believes it is appropriate for the full tax value to be paid.
The Lewis County Planning Board gave the project its stamp of approval at its March 19 meeting.
According to the documents provided to the Planning Board, the Copenhagen Wind Farm project contains 47 commercial wind turbines, meteorological towers, utility infrastructure and roadways in the town of Denmark.
OwnEnergy told the town it would like to begin construction next year, provided it has all of its approvals and financing, Mr. Gebo said.
Town of Denmark Supervisor Thomas W. Fleming could not be reached for comment and several calls to Christine Karlovic, director of marketing and communications with OwnEnergy, went unreturned.
COPENHAGEN WIND FARM
• Number of towers: 47 • Capacity: 79.9 megawatts • Likely output: 28 megawatts • Project cost: $150 million to $250 million • Probable assessment: $213 million • Tax liability at today’s tax rates: $4.998 million • Proposed PILOT: $640,000 to $15.5 million over 20 years