CHAUMONT – The Lyme Town Council discussed potential zoning issues and intervenor funding with wind developer representatives during its monthly board meeting last Wednesday.
Town Council members asked Jeff Reinkemeyer and Dan Murdie of Atlantic Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, and Neil T. Habig, of developer Apex Clean Energy, to hold presentations on the progress of their proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm and Galloo Island wind projects.
Councilman Daniel J. Villa asked Mr. Reinkemeyer and Mr. Murdie whether Atlantic Wind will seek to override the town’s industrial wind energy conservation energy systems law to develop on the 1,000 acres of Lyme property they are leasing, which is not in the town’s wind overlay district.
“The systems in the town of Lyme worked hard on implementing the wind zoning law,” Mr. Villa said.
Mr. Reinkemeyer said he will meet with town representatives to discuss any possible options.
“We’re going to be working through the Article 10 process,” Mr. Reinkemeyer said. “We will be engaging the Town Board and the townships in this area to kind of reasonably – you know – reasonable objective.”
Town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said that the developers can apply for a special use permit through the town Zoning Board of Appeals and, if it is approved, the board can deliver a variance.
“We have a wind law in place, and any developer has to follow the process we set down,” Mr. Aubertine said. “If they don’t want to abide by that law, we’ll reject (their proposal).”
In order to address the funding concern for both projects, Mr. Villa asked the representatives of both companies how the recent alternative tax policy from the Jefferson County Board of Legislators, which requires that projects with a 25-megawatt output or more pay an amount equal to full taxation regardless of whether they have a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes or not, would affect their development.
Mr. Reinkemeyer said the company will discuss its options with county legislators and “see what agreements can be reached.” Mr. Habig said Apex intends to send a formal PILOT application to the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.
“We understand what the county said in regard to tax abatements,” Mr. Habig said. “We understand where they are coming from on that.”
Town Deputy Supervisor Don Bourquin asked both Mr. Reinkemeyer and Mr. Habig about how much intervenor funding the town will receive if the Town Board applies for it.
Mr. Reinkemeyer said the company could not provide any definitive numbers at the time. While the deadline for applying for the initial intervenor funding from Apex has passed, Mr. Habig said that the town can request the additional funding once their application for the Article 10 process is submitted. The additional funding could provide the town $1,000 per megawatt of energy, possibly providing up to $110,000 for the project’s 110-megawatt output.
“I don’t think you’ve lost an opportunity to seek those funds,” he said.
Mr. Aubertine said the board has not yet decided whether it will apply for intervenor funding.
“If they come in, we will use any revenue that they give us, and if they don’t come in we’ll continue to operate under budget as we have always,” Mr. Aubertine said.
Mr. Reinkemeyer said the company is looking at developing towers that will be less than 500 feet each, particularly one with a 2.6-megawatt output.
Mr. Habig said that Apex is in the Article 10 process and intends to erect 32 turbines on Galloo Island that would supply an intended peak output capacity factor that is between 30 to 40 percent of its 110-megawatt project.
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