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Invenergy plans wind project

CANISTEO – Another wind company with its sights set on Steuben County will outline its plans to the public during a pair of open houses later this month.

Invenergy will discuss its Canisteo Wind Energy Center project during events set for Monday, Aug. 22 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Jasper-Troupsburg Central School, 3769 State Route 417, Jasper and Tuesday, Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at Canisteo-Greenwood Elementary School, 120 Greenwood St., Canisteo.

Marguerite Wells, New York developer for Invenergy, attended Monday’s Canisteo Town Board meeting and noted that the company had sent out mailers to area residents.

“We’re going to show maps including turbine layout maps which people have been asking us for a long time,” Wells said regarding the open houses.

As of now, the project would involve at least a portion of six towns – Cameron, Canisteo, Greenwood, Jasper, Trouspburg, and West Union. Invenergy plans 90 wind turbines for the project that would potentially produce up to 290.7 megawatts of power.

The Canisteo Wind Energy Center would mark the fourth such project by Invenergy in the state. According to a Public Involvement Program plan found on its website, Invenergy runs the 75-turbine High Sheldon Wind Farm in Sheldon, the 58-turbine Orangeville Wind Farm in Orangeville and the 10-turbine Marsh Hill Wind Farm in Jasper.

“We would be looking at about 2019-2020 when the project could get constructed,” Wells said. “There’s a new permitting process now with New York State. The Jasper project and the Howard project were permitted under the old process called SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review). This new process is called Article 10 and it kind of changes how the permitting goes.”

As part of the Article 10 process, New York State Department of Public Service requires what’s called intervenor funds so that any town that’s interested can receive money from a wind company to conduct research – even if it’s to dispute a point made by that company.

“It’s about a three-year process to get through this Article 10 thing and not many projects have gone through it yet,” Wells said. “The state’s only just figuring out the permitting too and so are we. It’s a little bit of inventing the wheel.”

Wells said that one advantage of the Article 10 process is that project developers must meet with stakeholders “from snowmobile clubs to bird clubs to town groups to highway departments, anybody that might care about a wind farm.”

Canisteo Town Supervisor Steven Weed asked Wells for more information on what the open house events later this month would entail.

“It’ll be my whole Invenergy team,” Wells replied. “My boss, all the other guys I work with. It’s going to be seven or eight of us. We’re going to have a whole bunch of different big maps showing things like wind speeds, turbine layouts, parcels, where we’ve leased, where we haven’t.”

According to the Canisteo Wind Energy Center website, Invenergy claims to have more than 22,000 acres already under lease.

A resident asked about how much power the 10-turbine project in Jasper produces.

“It pays $300,000 into local taxes and they make 16 megawatts of power,” Wells said, noting that the company worked with the town to make the project a reality by continuously altering their plans.

Town Attorney Karl Anderson echoed those same sentiments and praised the company’s transparency.

“Invenergy really was very open about everything,” Anderson said. “Article 10, (Wells said) makes it better well actually it levels the playing field because these people really did come out. They had a couple-three hearings before they had actually had to just to inform the people what was going on. Jasper really embraced it … they didn’t have a problem with roads or anything of that nature.”

For more on Monday’s Canisteo Village Board meeting, read Thursday’s edition of The Evening Tribune.