DEER RIVER – Denmark town officials are continuing to review plans for a proposed wind farm here that now features fewer, but slightly taller, towers.
“It’s a math issue,” James Damon, project manager at OwnEnergy Inc., Brooklyn, said Tuesday during a joint meeting of the Denmark Town Council and Planning Board.
While the proposed Copenhagen Wind Farm’s production capacity has been capped at 80 megawatts, advances in wind technology will allow the company to use 2-megawatt turbines, rather than the 1.7-megawatt ones that were planned, forcing a reduction in towers from 47 to 40, he said.
The higher-capacity units have longer turbine blades but shorter towers, so the maximum height at the blade tip would be only six feet higher – from 492 to 498 feet – than the older model, Mr. Damon said.
In comparison, the 1.65-megawatt turbines used at the nearby 195-tower Maple Ridge Wind Farm have a maximum height of about 400 feet.
The new turbines are “more suited to this site condition,” and the elimination of the seven turbines – most of them in the vicinity of Mud Street and Carlowden Country Club – and a drop in proposed permanent meteorological towers from three to one will allow for a reduction in access roads, said Diane M. Sullivan, vice president of energy development at Haley & Aldrich, Rochester, a consulting firm that is assisting with the project.
The Town Council on Tuesday held a public hearing on the proposed creation of a wind overlay district to regulate the proposed wind farm, while the Planning Board held one on its site plan review of the project. Following review by the Lewis County Planning Board, the boards could make final approvals as soon as their August meetings, attorney Mark G. Gebo, who is helping the town with the project, said.
Affected taxing jurisdictions have tentatively agreed to terms on a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the wind farm, but it still must be approved by the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency, which would administer the PILOT, Mr. Gebo said. Payments have been expected to total at least $15.5 million over 20 years.
Since the funding is based on production capacity, not number of towers, the change will not affect PILOT payments, Mr. Gebo said.
When asked if the seven towers were chosen for elimination because of complaints, Mr. Damon said that the selection was based on several different criteria, including which towers are expected to be least productive and most difficult and costly to erect.
“I don’t think it’s due to complaints,” he said. “I haven’t received any complaints.”
Mr. Damon said any involved landowners who no longer have towers proposed on their properties will be able to get out of their contracts.
OwnEnergy plans to move forward with the project’s survey and design phase in hopes of getting a specifications package to construction companies by October, possibly allowing construction to begin next spring, he said.
And, at a cost of $750,000 for design, “everything needs to be exact” with tower positioning before that can happen, Mr. Damon said.
The Copenhagen Wind Farm, being developed by OwnEnergy with local partner Jerry B. Wichelns, also would feature a 115-kilovolt overhead power line running about nine miles through the towns of Champion, Rutland and Watertown to connect the wind farm to a National Grid substation near Burrville.
The town Planning Board on Tuesday night also held a public hearing on a proposal by Simpson Fuels to install a 30,000-gallon propane storage tank at 10926 Route 26 and approved a subdivision on East Road.
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