BELLMONT – The company planning to revive the long-dormant Jericho Rise wind farm has filed a formal notice with officials of the affected towns of its plans to go forward with the project.
Town Supervisor H. Bruce Russell stated that the town received a Notice of Intent from EDP Renewables for the Jericho Rise project, which calls for the construction of 53 wind turbines –– 34 in the town of Chateaugay and 19 in the town of Bellmont, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The project was first proposed 15 years ago but went dormant in 2009 because of economic conditions. It was revived late last year when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project would share in $206 million in state funding intended to promote renewable energy development.
The notice was forwarded to Plattsburgh Attorney C.J. Madonna, who is representing the towns in their negotiations with EDP. A copy of the notice was also forwarded to Conestoga Rovers and Associates, a group that provides engineering, environmental, consulting, construction and information technology services and is working as a consultant to the towns.
Receipt of the notice of intent is one of several developments that have take place recently to advance the project.
Russell also said that EDP representatives looked at possible wind tower sites that were explored when the project was first proposed by Horizon Wind Energy of Houston. The company was purchased in 2005 by the Goldman Sachs investment firm, which sold it two years later to Portuguese power provider Energias de Portugal (EDP), according to the Reuters news service. The company’s American operations are now called EDP Renewables.
The sites that have been examined –– south of the railroad bed a mile off Route 24 –– are “where Horizon looked at tentative sites and alternative sites,” Russell said.
Town officials have told company representatives that most of the cable that will connect the turbine sites to the electric grid must be placed underground, rather than on towers. “We are insisting on that,” Russell said.
Russell said he and Chateaugay Supervisor Don Bilow met June 12 with Jericho Rise Project Manager Aron Branam to discuss the establishment of an escrow account to cover any legal costs the towns may incur relative to the wind farm project. The establishment of the $50,000 fund is a precondition before the towns will move the project forward, he said. If EDP “did not want to bring it 50,000 … it would all be over,” he said.
The two town leaders agreed Chateaugay will be the keeper of the funds, but when a requistion for payment is presented, both town boards will be involved.
Negotiations on various aspects of the project will be done in stages and brought to the members of the Town Board and the public, Russell said. “We will look at each section, and if we disagree, we will address that part,” he said.
Russell also told the Board that many public meetings will be held as the project moves forward, but that the proposal is not yet at that point. “Eventually we will get to a point where we will have public meetings,” he said. The sessions will likely be joint meetings with Chateaugay will be held at the town hall with both boards, both highway superintendents and representatives of CRA and EDP.
This sort of open process will be better than the one used when Noble Environmental Power proposed construction of a wind farm in the town, Russell said. Because information about that project was not widely disseminated, there “were a bunch of retractions,” he said.
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