CLAYTON – Signaling that the footprint of its former proposal could grow, the developer of the Horse Creek wind project plans to erect meteorological towers in the towns of Clayton, Orleans, Brownville and Lyme.
A representative from Iberdrola Renewables confirmed the plan for the towers, which are used to measure wind speeds, during a pre-application meeting held earlier this month by the town Planning Board, according to Supervisor David M. Storandt Jr. The developer has proposed to put up three towers within the town, he said, including one north of the Chaumont River that probably won’t be approved because it’s outside the town’s wind overlay district.
It appears likely that the developer’s most recent 48-turbine, 96-megawatt proposal in the town of Clayton would be expanded if it decides to pursue the project. Applicant Atlantic Wind LLC – a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables – submitted an interconnection request in December to the New York Independent System Operator. It shows the project is proposed to be completed by the end of 2019 and calls for a maximum generation capacity of 250 megawatts – an output increase of 155 percent.
The Planning Board set a public hearing for 7 p.m. March 3 to further consider the request for the meteorological towers.
The Orleans Town Planning Board, meanwhile, will meet with Iberdrola at 7 p.m. March 15. The developer wants to put up three meteorological towers in Orleans, but it hasn’t indicated whether they’d be within the wind overlay district in the southwest part of the town, said Lee J. Shimel, town zoning officer.
Orleans Town Supervisor Kevin R. Rarick, meanwhile, said he knows that Iberdrola is interested in leasing land from property owners in the area.
“I’m sure they’ve spoken with property owners,” he said Wednesday.
Jenny L. Briot, senior business developer for Iberdrola who is planning the project, has not yet contacted Lyme and Brownville to schedule appearances at planning board meetings, town officials confirmed Wednesday. Brownville Town Supervisor Richard D. Lane said he believes Iberdrola’s project could impact a small section of the town near the Clayton and Lyme town lines.
Though Iberdrola ceased planning its 96-megawatt project in Clayton about four years ago, the developer still has 30 private land leases amounting to about 10,000 acres in the town – about five miles south of the village of Clayton. In 2005, it initially sought a 130-megawatt project with 62 turbines in the southeastern part of Clayton and southwest part of Orleans. The original project area spanned from the hamlet of Depauville south to the Brownville town line and east into Orleans, where eight of the 62 turbines were planned. Iberdrola downsized that plan in 2011 by removing Orleans from the project’s scope, resulting in its most recent 96-megawatt proposal.
If Iberdrola decides to revive the project after re-evaluating the area, Mr. Storandt said, its plan would call for turbines with more generation capacity than the most recent proposal, which called for 2-megawatt, 476-foot turbines.
He said the developer would use either 2.5-megawatt or 3.3-megawatt turbines from Gamesa, a Spanish wind-turbine manufacturer. Based on Gamesa’s latest turbine models, the G126-2.5 MW and G132-3.3 MW, the maximum turbine heights are 630 feet and 656 feet, respectively.
Iberdrola told the town National Grid will determine how much capacity is available on the main electrical grid for the project, Mr. Storandt said, along with where interconnection points could be located.
“That will drive the size of the project and which towns they put towers into,” Mr. Storandt said.
The closest 115-kilovolt substations operated by National Grid are in the town of Brownville, near Perch Lake, and outside of Chaumont on County Route 179 in the town of Lyme.
Mr. Storandt said it’s possible that after evaluating alternatives, Iberdrola could decide to keep the footprint of its 2005 proposal, which called for turbines in the towns of Clayton and Orleans.
“They could have a larger generating capacity in the same footprint,” he said.
The town’s zoning law prevents turbines taller than 500 feet within the wind overlay district, Mr. Storandt said, but it’s possible that Iberdrola could seek a height variance that would allow taller turbines.
“Because we’re limited to 500 feet in the wind overlay district, if the blades are longer the tower would have to be shorter,” he said.
Mr. Storandt said Iberdrola has proposed the following locations for the three meteorological towers:
■ North of the Chaumont River at the intersection of Ellis and Schnauber roads.
■ The intersection of Lowe Road and Route 12.
■ The intersection of County Road 125 and Depauville Road.
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