WATERTOWN – The developer for the Galloo Island Wind project needs to clarify sections of its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application before the committee charged with conducting the first step of the review process can deem it complete.
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s loan review committee and the members of the board of directors in attendance Wednesday raised questions about what components of the 108.9-megawatt project were included in the application, how the developer, Apex Clean Energy, planned to create its proposed jobs, and what finances they felt needed more clarification before an application for sales, mortgage or real property tax abatement could be submitted to the full board.
The JCIDA’s loan review committee is charged with deciding whether a PILOT application is complete and making a recommendation to the full board, but JCIDA Treasurer Robert E. Aliasso Jr., who chairs the committee, said he felt it needs to have a more in-depth discussion about the project and the application before making a decision. Mr. Aliasso said he hopes Apex Clean Energy will provide more information by the committee’s next meeting in June.
“I think it’s premature,” said David J. Converse, JCIDA chairman and loan review committee member.
Apex Clean Energy’s 30-turbine project in the town of Hounsfield will use an underwater cable connecting it to a substation in Oswego County, but committee members wanted the developer to clarify whether those components were included in the PILOT application.
A few board members asked how an underwater transmission cable would be assessed. Lyle V. Eaton, chief financial officer for the Jefferson County Local Development Corp., said the developer projects a $20 million cost for the cable and a $17 million cost for installation.
Paul J. Warneck, a JCIDA board member, said the committee and the board should consider creating a separate PILOT agreement for the transmission cable because the cable would run within the boundaries of several other municipalities, including ones in Oswego County.
“There are a lot more convoluted questions on the transmission cable in terms of a PILOT,” he said. “Those are the little things you’re getting into.”
Mr. Aliasso also asked whether the developer’s boathouse on Point Peninsula in the town of Lyme, which, according to its preliminary scoping statement, will used to transport equipment to and from the island, was included as part of the PILOT application.
Apex Clean Energy is proposing to create three to five permanent positions and 100 to 150 temporary construction jobs with its project, but the committee wants the developer to specify the types of full-time employment it will create and how it will create the temporary construction jobs.
Mr. Aliasso said he also wanted to make sure the developer would seek prospective employees from Jefferson, Lewis or Oswego counties.
“Will all jobs be created in our labor market?” he said. “It’s a good thing it’s not zero.”
The committee also requested that Apex Clean Energy provide financial statements and balance sheets to show how it will financially support the project over its lifetime.
Mr. Alexander said he believes the developer will need a power purchase agreement to sustain the proposed wind energy facility. Mr. Warneck said the JCIDA should obtain copies of existing power purchase agreements from other projects to serve as a point of reference.
The committee also asked Apex Clean Energy to update its financial information and further define its costs, which Mr. Eaton said total $199,950 at this time. Mr. Aliasso also said the developer needed to include the public funding resources it intends to use and pursue.
“It’s a living document,” Mr. Aliasso said.
As committee members reviewed the application, they decided Mr. Alexander should negotiate for Apex Clean Energy to make PILOT review payments.
“The review of this project should be zero-cost not only for us, but for the municipalities,” Mr. Warneck said.
Apex Clean Energy submitted its preliminary application in August and completed it in December or January.
Mr. Alexander said he expects reviewing the application will take several months and Apex Clean Energy will make changes to it over time. The PILOT application review will run concurrent with the state Article 10 law review for the developer’s project, Mr. Alexander said, but the JCIDA would make no decision on the PILOT application prior to the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment’s decision on the project.
Neil T. Habig, senior director of project development for Apex Clean Energy, said earlier this month it plans to submit the application within four to six weeks.
“If (the siting board is) against it, obviously we’ve done a lot of work for nothing,” Mr. Alexander said. “Everything is conditional on Article 10.”
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