Atlantic Wind LLC and their legal representatives from Young/Sommer LLC revised numerous sections of their public involvement plan to clarify their area study, area boundaries and public involvement, but while all of the concerns expressed by the state Department of Public Service were noted, not all of them were addressed in the revisions for the Horse Creek Wind Farm.
In a letter she sent to the firm on July 26, Lorna Gillings, a consumer advocacy and education representative for the state Department of Public Service, recommended that Atlantic Wind developers and the firm amend multiple sections of their PIP. Laura K. Bomyea, the lawyer representing the developers, sent the new plan and attached responses to the DPS addressing the department’s concerns on Monday.
“We look forward to working with the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, the DPS and project stakeholders in review of this project,” Ms. Bomyea said in the responses.
After facing criticism, developers and the firm expanded the study area from five miles of the project miles to up to 10 miles from the site.
DPS staff recommended the expansion in order to include the villages of Clayton and Sackets Harbor, costal locations along Lake Ontario and the Oswego River and the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. Atlantic Wind’s proposed visual study area will address the villages and costal locations, said Ms. Bomyea in the responses.
The developers intend on having U.S. Department of Defense Energy Siting Clearinghouse review the project.
“Applicant has committed to continuing the dialogue with Fort Drum, and to regularly provide updates to ensure military officials are appraised of developments in the Project and Article 10 process,” Ms. Bomyea said in the responses.
In response to multiple concerns from DPS staff regarding public outreach, Atlantic Wind developers established a local project office, which is included in the revised PIP, but are still uncertain about establishing an office in the project area.
According to the PIP, the office is located at 7650 North State Road, Suite 1, Lowville, and will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment. Ms. Bomyea also said in the responses that the company will provide an updated PIP plan if they open another office.
“I would hardly consider Lowville a local office,” said Clayton Town Supervisor David M. Storandt Jr. “At least they have a time period available for walk-ins.”
The developers and the firm included minor revisions of their maps to include the location of their proposed interconnections or switching station, fixing their original figures which caused confusion among DPS staff members.
DPS staff members claimed that the original version’s map had a site boundary that enclosed the west side of state Route 12 and the north side of Vaadi Road, Brownville, but the proposed location was on the east side of state Route 12. The site boundary on the new map now encompasses a small area on the east side of Route 12.
“The text description of the interconnect/switching station included in the original draft PIP plan was correct,” Ms. Bomyea said in the responses.
DPS staff recommended that the developers provide a definitive maximum turbine height in response to the developers saying that they may consider turbines taller than the established maximum turbine height of 500 feet in their original PIP, but no changes were made to that section.
Ms. Bomyea said in the responses that while they could not revise their original statement due to “rapidly changing” technology, current assessments will incorporate turbines with a 500-foot maximum and revise the studies if the developers decide to purchase taller turbines at a later date.
“It is not possible to say with certainty at this point in the process – at least two years from certification of the Project – which turbine model will be available, and what the dimensions of that turbine model will be,” Ms. Bomyea said in the responses.
Despite DPS staff recommendation, Atlantic Wind still defines “adjacent landowners” of the project as landowners whose properties are within 500 feet of the project in their plan.
DPS staff encouraged the developers to redefine the term to include landowners within 2,500 feet of a turbine or substation and 5,000 feet within a component. While the developers kept the original definition because it is the definition used in DPS law, the developers will provide any residences within 2,500 feet of a turbine project notices and treat those landowners as “adjacent landowners,” Ms. Bomyea said in the responses.
“It never mentions anything about the 5,000 feet,” said Orleans Town Supervisor Kevin C. Rarick.
According to their PIP, the developers will send public meeting notices to project stakeholders, affected agencies and local publications such as the Times and the Thousand Islands Sun. Public meeting notices will also be provided on their website, http://www.avangridrenewables.us/horsecreek/.
The next two public meetings will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Depauville Fire Department, 15231 School St., according to the PIP.
“It’s going to pick up many people in the Clayton footprint,” Mr. Storandt said.
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