CANISTEO – The Canisteo Village Board agreed Monday to accept an easement proposal by Invenergy that would allow the company to connect energy produced by a proposed wind project to a Hornell substation.
Meanwhile, trustees approved a measure to pay nearly $30,000 in repairs to the village’s sewer plant.
Mike Mulcahey of Invenergy attended the meeting and noted that the easement proposal is part of a project that would primarily be in Troupsburg, Jasper and West Union “for anywhere from 50 to 100 more wind turbines.” Invenergy currently runs a commercial wind project in Jasper.
“The constraint has been the capacity on the electric lines in the area and so our proposal is to take the energy that’s generated from the windmill project to the Bennett substation in Hornell,” Mulcahey said. “Some Village of Canisteo properties would be perfectly suited for overhead transmission lines that would go through property.”
According to Mulcahey, compensation for landowners who would have transmission lines through their property includes a $2,000 payment when an agreement is signed, an additional $2,000 payment when construction begins and an additional yearly payment that would start at $2,000 and increase by two percent every year of the agreement.
“The cut-off here is 30 years of operations,” Mulcahey said. “We don’t really know how long the wind projects last because of how long the wind turbines last. We’ve proposed as long as 40 years, 25 to 30 years is the expected life of these wind turbines.”
All told, Invenergy proposed that landowners would receive $85,000 in payments over the 30-year period.
Canisteo Village Mayor William Tucker asked the Invenergy representative for clarification regarding language about landowners’ rights to the easement area in a packet provided to the village.
“My concern is the gravel lot on the side of Depot Street, we’re continuing to change the elevation there in certain places with those piles of gravel,” Tucker said. “It would be within the easement area. I know I’m being a little picky here but it said (owners can not) change elevation (of easement areas).”
Mulcahey replied by noting that the company is concerned about poles in the ground that could be compromised by elevation changes.
Village Department of Public Works superintendent Dennis Cole asked if the company had talked to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the project, noting that the Depot Street gravel lot already has an easement for flood control.
“We understand we’ll have to have long conversations with them about that,” Mulcahey replied.
Tucker asked if the board wanted to take action on the proposal or hold off for further discussion.
Mulcahey noted that the utility poles would be spaced about 500 feet from each other and the gravel pit in question may not have one placed in the area – in fact, Invenergy would be wiling to work around it.
Following continued discussion, Trustee Tim Harkenrider authorized that Tucker make a motion to approve the easement proposal with two caveats: no pole would be placed in the property near the Depot Street gravel pit and “language in the contract” would ensure that the company would match “any other landlord’s agreement as far as payment” to the village.
The proposal was approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote.
Later in the meeting, Tucker addressed needed repairs at the sewer plant that were predicted to cost around $30,000.
“We could limp along for about $6,000 but it wouldn’t last,” Tucker said. “Limp along temporarily, we can’t do that because of the requirements of the DEC, the EPA and probably the (Army) Corps of Engineers, etc.”
So the village hired Plant-IQ of North Tonawanda to provide “a temporarily solution” to keep the plant in operation. The fee was $18,217 for the first phase of the project and $11,268 for the second phase of the effort.
Tucker asked for authorization for village clerk Melissa Day to pay Plant-IQ for both phases of the project. The mayor reiterated that the the village only had been billed for the first phase as of now.
“We don’t want to wait until next month for her to put the paperwork together, the vouchers,” Tucker said. “If we wait then there will be a penalty and accrue a penalty on an $18,000 bill would be a few hundred dollars anyway.”
Trustees passed a resolution to pay Plant-IQ with a total cost not to exceed $30,000 with unanimous vote.
“We knew it was going to be a lot,” Tucker said.
As a result, it was recommended that the village wait to take further action regarding a sewer pump station on Second Street. When the board received quotes for that project in August, $74,064 was estimated to be the cost.
“I don’t see how we can spend the money right now,” Harkenrider said.
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