The developer of the Mad River Wind Farm project took another step forward in the Article 10 review process Friday when it submitted a preliminary scoping statement.
The more than 200-page document provides additional details about Avangrid Renewables’s proposed 350-megawatt facility in the towns of Worth and Redfield, such as tentative turbine layout, but focuses predominantly on what the developer plans to include in its official Article 10 application, such as preliminary design drawings, construction details and various studies involving the project’s potential effects on visuals, noise, real property and the environment.
Avangrid and its subsidiary, Atlantic Wind LLC, entered the second major phase in the Article 10 process for its 88-turbine project about a year after it submitted its Public Involvement Program plan, the first step in the review. The project team also held several open houses throughout the year.
“As you know, these permitting processes rightfully take a lot of time, so while there’s still a long way to go, it’s an exciting, if early, milestone,” Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid, said in an email. “We’re learning more about the project area, and continuing the work on a potential clean energy project that can deliver substantial economic benefits into the community – which could support schools, first responders, local services – for a long time.”
The scoping statement submission also kicks off a few other components of the Article 10 process that require action from the affected taxing jurisdictions.
John B. Rhodes, chairman of the state Public Service Commission, sent out letters Friday to Jefferson County, Oswego County, Worth and Redfield officials requesting them to nominate residents to serve as ad hoc members on the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which reviews large-scale energy projects. Nominations are due Jan. 10, the siting board said in a background statement.
Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III said county officials haven’t given Mad River Wind Farm much thought since June, when they last met with the developer, but now that Avangrid has published its scoping statement, they will refocus their attention on planning their list of four ad hoc nominations.
“That’s something we are going to have to get Oswego County in on,” said Scott A. Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. “Everyone has the opportunity to put names forward. We would probably try to land on a couple of strong recommendations; someone from each side of the county.”
Residents and municipalities also will have an opportunity to apply for intervenor funding, which could be used to retain legal counsel and experts to analyze the project.
Mr. Copleman said Avangrid will provide $122,500 now that the scoping statement was filed, a requirement established for all developers that participate in the Article 10 review.
Worth Town Supervisor Judith A. Nichols said the Town Council has not focused on applying for funding and its members have held few discussions about the project. Jenny L. Briot, the New York and New England manager for Avangrid, will meet with the Worth Town Council soon to provide a project update, Mrs. Nichols said.
“I think when Jenny comes up and tells us everything, I think it’ll help a lot,” she said.
Avangrid plans to build its Mad River Wind Farm in about a 200-acre footprint within a roughly 20,000-acre plot of working forest it leased from Salmon River Timberlands LLC.
The facility was one of several proposed wind projects near Fort Drum that caused concern, if not opposition, from several elected officials and the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization because of the potential effects they could have on military operations and radar.
The Jefferson County Legislature previously passed a resolution opposing wind energy facilities that would have adverse effects on Fort Drum, a position that Mr. Gray said has not changed. Both Jefferson and Oswego counties also have taxation policies for large-scale alternative energy projects.
“We remain engaged in a detailed and highly technical review process and collaboration,” Mr. Copleman said. “We’re working together to understand site-specific concerns in order to protect Fort Drum and their various missions. The Department of Defense has advocated for renewable energy for years as a pivotal tool to do those very things.”
Redfield Town Supervisor Tanya M. Yerdon could not be reached for comment. Oswego County Administrator Philip R. Church did not respond to a request for comment.
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