CLAYTON – The Horse Creek Wind Farm project is in the process of being brought back to life by its developer.
Iberdrola Renewables, a subsidiary of Maine-based energy company Avangrid, submitted an interconnection request to the New York Independent System Operator in December for the project in the town of Clayton. The request will enable Iberdrola to conduct a study to determine whether to pursue the project, which it ceased planning about four years ago.
The original 48-turbine, 96-megawatt project could be modified as the developer re-evaluates the site, according to Paul N. Copleman, spokesman for the developer. The developer still has one meteorological tower and more than 30 private land leases that amount to about 10,000 acres at the site, which is located about five miles south of the village of Clayton.
“Our U.S. wind development pipeline has many different projects in various stages of development, so we’re constantly evaluating individual projects in an effort to determine which ones to move forward,” Mr. Copleman said in an email. The request “is just a starting point to initially understand availability for new generation on the transmission line … it secures a spot in the regulated study process and begins the series of studies required before the interconnection of a project to the grid in the area.”
The project is on NY ISO’s interconnection queue, which lists wind projects being actively planned statewide. The applicant is listed as Atlantic Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables. Though the project is listed on the queue as a 250-megawatt project, Mr. Copleman said, that number indicates the upper limit of the project’s generation capacity. The scope of the project has not been determined.
“The study size sets an upper limit but in no way indicates what the size of the project might be, or how many turbines can or should be sited in the project,” he said, adding that it remains to be determined whether the developer could use previous studies as part of its new plan.
The size and type of turbines have not been decided on, Mr. Copleman said. He could not confirm whether they would be taller than the original 476-foot, 2-megawatt turbines.
Plans for other wind projects being planned in upstate New York call for taller turbines. Galloo Island wind farm developer Apex Clean Energy’s 102.3-megawatt project, for example, calls for 3.3-megawatt turbines that would be up to 575 feet tall. A previous proposal for that project, developed by Upstate NY Power Corp., called for 410-foot, 3-megawatt turbines.
Turbines have become more affordable and efficient since the project was proposed, Mr. Copleman said. He said that according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of wind energy dropped by 66 percent between 2009 and 2014.
“Turbine efficiency improvements mean we can look at parts of the country that we wouldn’t have previously deemed viable for wind energy. Those same turbine improvements benefit any type of project we’re evaluating,” Mr. Copleman said.
Clayton Town Supervisor David M. Storandt Jr. said that he had an informal meeting last week with Jenny Briot, development manager of wind and solar projects for Iberdrola. She will be sharing information about the project during the town Planning Board meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“The board still doesn’t have any information to really process, aside from that they’re interested in reviving the wind project,” Mr. Storandt said, adding the developer is interested in setting up meteorological towers to collect data.
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