LOWVILLE – While Number Three Wind project officials don’t plan to file a preliminary scoping statement for another month, a draft version is already available online for review by local officials and other interested residents.
“I want it to reflect reality,” Invenergy representative Marguerite Wells told the Lowville Town Council on Thursday. “That’s sort of the point.”
The wind developer plans to file the statement Nov. 21 as part of the state Article 10 review process, Ms. Wells said.
However, a “soft launch” of that filing has been done on the project website, www.numberthreewind.com, and she encouraged town officials to review the draft document and point out any errors or inaccuracies prior to the state filing.
The draft filing includes 16 different maps showing such things as town, fire and school district boundaries, wetlands, flood zones and zoning, along with an initial cultural resources investigation of the project area.
Ms. Wells said bird research also was conducted over the summer, but that study isn’t slated for completion until March.
Invenergy, based in Chicago, Ill., is proposing 35 to 50 turbines in the towns of Harrisburg and Lowville, as well as up to 100 acres of photovoltaic solar panels, with a 115-kilovolt substation to tie into the power grid proposed on farmland off Route 812 just northeast of the village of Lowville. Tentative plans would be to start construction in 2019.
The project area is just north of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm and sandwiched among three other proposed wind projects – Copenhagen Wind Farm, Deer River Wind Farm and Roaring Brook Wind Farm – on the Tug Hill Plateau.
Developers initially considered one or two turbines in the town of Denmark, as well, but landowner agreements could not be reached, Ms. Wells said.
The Invenergy representative also told councilmen that she has had some preliminary talks with the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency about a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and that the company would be looking to make annual payouts of about $8,000 per megawatt, or $800,000 for a 100-megawatt project.
The distribution ratio would be determined by the taxing jurisdictions, but towns also could secure a larger share through separate host community agreements with the developer that would run in perpetuity, she said.
Ms. Wells also estimated that the Lowville and Copenhagen fire departments would split roughly $40,000 annually in fire protection funding if the proposed wind farm is built.
The towns also would be eligible for intervenor funding, paid by the wind company and awarded through the state, to hire attorneys, consultants or other experts – such as bird or road specialists – to assist in their review of the project, she said.
“I know roads are one thing that we’re interested in,” Lowville Town Supervisor Randall A. Schell said.
Ms. Wells said a road use agreement will have to be reached with the towns before construction. “The idea is to try to make roads whole after construction,” she said.
Town Historian Charlotte M. Beagle asked if Invenergy may pay out historic mitigation funding as was done for the Maple Ridge project. A portion of that funding went to the Lewis County Historical Society to assist restoration efforts at cemeteries within the wind farm viewshed, she said.
That will be up to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation after a more comprehensive cultural resource study is completed, Ms. Wells said.
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