The Number Three Wind Farm, a proposed project by a wind developer called Invenergy, brought dozens of landowners to a town of Lowville public hearing Thursday morning.
The developer is planning to build more than 30 wind turbines on both sides of Number Three Road and Route 12 between the villages of Lowville and Copenhagen.
But right now local laws stand in the way.
Invenergy is asking the town board for a number of waivers of the laws.
“Our law says to the greatest extent possible, transmission lines should be buried,” said Randy Schell, Lowville town supervisor.
But Invenergy plans to build a transmission line longer than 3 miles above ground from the project substation to where it connects to the grid. Residents are concerned about its effect on the scenery and public health.
“We’re not against the project. We think the project is great. We just want the transmission lines to be underground for the safety and the health for our children and the community,” said Renee Loomis, Lowville resident.
But Invenergy says it’s more expensive to bury lines.
A spokesperson at the meeting estimated it would cost $15 million more to bury the transmission line – money that could potentially go to the town through different payments.
“Basically any additional cost to the project in burying the line would mean money that doesn’t go to the town through host community payments and PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) payments,” said Marguerite Wells, Invenergy manager of renewable development.
The town board plans to vote on the waivers on November 16.