Wind developer to host open house for Mad River Wind Farm
Credit: By Marcus Wolf | Watertown Daily Times | February 24, 2017 | www.watertowndailytimes.com ~~
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REDFIELD – Wind energy developer Atlantic Wind LLC will host a public open house for its latest north country project, Mad River Wind Farm, on March 8, and several nearby business owners expressed questions and concerns about the project.
A development team from Avangrid Renewables, Atlantic Wind’s parent company, will discuss the project boundaries, the state Article 10 law review time line, general construction information and project impact studies at their open house, said Jenny L. Briot, the New York and New England manager for the company.
The open house will take place 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Redfield Fire Department, 4879 County Route 17.
“(It provides) opportunities to speak with representatives of the company,” Ms. Briot said. “There will be more public meetings going forward in both communities.”
The developer established a general outline for its new wind farm in its Public Involvement Program plan, details it’s staff will share at the open house.
Atlantic Wind intends to build up to 125 turbines that will cover an about 200-acre footprint within an about 20,000-acre plot or working forest it leased from Salmon River Timberlands LLC, said Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for the developer. The 350-megawatt project will interconnect to the Volney-Marcy 345 kilovolts transmission line, but Mr. Copleman said the team has not determined the specific location for its interconnection point.
The developer will also conduct a series of environmental, visual, noise, wetland and other impact studies within the study area, which its team will discuss at the open house. The study area, which encompasses all properties within a five-mile radius of the project area, covers 261.017 miles in the towns of Osceola, Harrisburg, Montague and Pickney in Lewis County; the towns of Rodman and Lorraine in Jefferson County and the towns of Boylston and Orwell in Oswego County.
“The process asks us to bring in a lot of voices,” Mr. Copleman said. “As we get feedback, that determines our process going forward.”
Several business owners know little or nothing about the proposed wind farm, but had a general opinions and questions for Atlantic Wind.
Richard T. Flood, owner of the Funny Farm Lodge and the Coo Coo Nest bed and breakfast, which is within five miles of the project in Lorraine, said he wants to hear the developer’s “proposal,” but believes the town’s wooded properties would limit the view of turbines and have no impact on his property. Mr. Flood said he may attend the open house.
Hugh Quinn, who owns Osceola Tug Hill Cross Country Ski Center Inc., said he may also attend the open house and wants to know how developers would compensate nearby properties owners for potential property value loss and whether the developer would pursue federal or county tax incentives. The project is about seven miles away from Mr. Quinn’s business. He said the project would have no impact on him and, if the developer has no interest in tax incentives, he would support it.
“I have to see how the conversation goes,” he said. “We’ll see what happens March 8.”
Some business owners interested in attending the open house believe the project would benefit the area.
Stephen M. Hennigen, who owns the Montague Inn about five miles from the project, said he thought developing Maple Ridge Wind farm, partly owned by Avangrid Renewables, brought more jobs and provided more and better maintained access roads, and he hopes Mad River Wind Farm will bring the same benefits. Mr. Hennigen said he wants to know what jobs the project would create, the project time line and how the developer will maintain its turbines.
“If it helps people out nearby, then I supposed we would all be for it,” he said. “It doesn’t affect me. I won’t see the windmills.”
Some business owners want to know more about the project’s potential impacts on the land and their municipalities.
David A. Ott, who owns the Otter Limits and Nook Motel in Redfield with his wife, Aerri L. Sterusky, said he wants to know more about whether the Atlantic Wind will pursue financial incentives and how many trees the developer will remove. Wanda A. Lacelle, owner of The Gathering Place restaurant, which is within five miles of the project in Redfield, said she would like to know the general effects the project would have.
“They aren’t going to benefit us,” Mr. Ott said. “We’re better off putting in solar.”
Despite using the land for wind energy facility development, both Mr. Copleman and Ms. Briot said the project would have little impact on the logging company’s property.
Ms. Briot said they will remove few trees permanently, which would keep the land open for logging and snowmobile recreation.
“All existing uses of the land will continue,” Mr. Copleman said.
“We want to be a part of the community and be available,” Ms. Briot said
The developer also claimed in its Public Involvement Program plan that the project will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes, create 350 temporary construction jobs for 12 to 18 months, 20 permanent engineering jobs and bring $60 million in direct and indirect revenue to local economies.
In addition to its open house, the developer will inform affected municipalities by communicating with local officials and local and state agencies, attend town board meetings, host other informational meetings and open a local project office at 5010 County Route 17, according to its Public Involvement Plan. Ms. Briot said they have not determined an opening date or hours of operation for the office. The developer leased the property from Mr. Ott, he said.
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