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Wind developer no longer plans to build boathouse in Lyme

LYME – Apex Clean Energy no longer plans to build a boathouse or any off-site facility in the town to transfer parts, equipment or staff to Galloo Island for its proposed wind energy facility.

Town officials said Thursday in a letter to the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment that the developer must consult with town officials and adhere to the town’s zoning laws and comprehensive plan. The letter was sent in response to the developer listing Point Peninsula as a location for transferring equipment and facility parts to the site of its Galloo Island Wind project in its stipulations with several state agencies. The board also said the developer did not include any of the town’s laws in the list of local laws to review for the project.

Apex Clean Energy, however, decided against building the previously proposed boathouse or any structure within the town, said Senior Director of Project Development Neil T. Habig.

Mr. Habig said they were unable to adjust the stipulations document in time and will remove references to Point Peninsula as a site for transferring project components in the final document.

“As our plans have developed we have found the use of Lyme for an off-loading site to be unnecessary,” Mr. Habig said. “We are not contemplating anything there.”

Town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said the developer’s alteration comes as no surprise to him.

“I couldn’t see how our roads would be good enough to haul heavy equipment,” he said, adding that the board sent the letter because “we just wanted to make sure the siting board was aware that the Town of Lyme had laws that were going to need to be looked at.”

Town officials, however, still have concerns about the project’s potential visual impacts. Mr. Aubertine said he believes certain residents, particularly residents who live on Point Peninsula, will be able to see the Apex Clean Energy’s proposed 108.9-megawatt project. He said he plans to send a letter to the siting board regarding the town board’s concerns.

Apex Clean Energy in April provided the town board with photos showing the island at different distances and angles to show the project’s potential visual impacts, but Mr. Aubertine said the developer should have taken more photos from farther distances.

“We are going to write a letter so we can do our due diligence and protect our residents,” Mr. Aubertine said. “(Apex Clean Energy) just seem to be overlooking us and ignoring us.”

While other towns with wind energy facilities proposed either within or adjacent to their boundaries have worked on creating new regulations for wind energy facilities – including Brownville, Clayton and Orleans – Mr. Aubertine said the Lyme Town Board has no plans to create new regulations. In addition to being within miles of the Galloo Island Wind project, Avangrid Renewables and its subsidiary, Atlantic Wind LLC, are planning to build part of the 250-megawatt Horse Creek Wind Farm project in the town.

“We went through that several years ago,” Mr. Aubertine said. “We have a good law.”