LOWVILLE – A developer has submitted an application for the proposed Number Three Wind Farm, making it the first wind project in Lewis County to reach that stage in the state Article 10 review process.
“Within 60 days, the Chairman of the Siting Board will determine whether the application is complete,” Eric J. Miller, a business manager with Invenergy Wind North America, said by email. “Once it’s deemed complete, the Administrative Law Judge for this case will schedule a public statement hearing in the project area. At that hearing, the ALJ will likely allocate intervenor funds to groups that wish to hire experts to assist in review of the application and members of the public will be able to comment on the project.”
Invenergy, based in Chicago, is proposing roughly 30 turbines in the towns of Lowville and Harrisburg, with a 115-kilovolt substation to tie into the power grid proposed on farmland owned by Earl Nolt off Route 812 just northeast of the village of Lowville.
Invenergy filed a preliminary scoping statement in late 2016 with the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment as part of the state Article 10 review process, and the application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need on the 105.7-megawatt project was filed Friday.
The project area is just north of the 195-turbine Maple Ridge Wind Farm and sandwiched among three other proposed wind projects – Copenhagen Wind Farm, Deer River Wind Farm and Roaring Brook Wind Farm – on the Tug Hill Plateau. Access road construction has kicked off on the Copenhagen Wind project, which was reviewed locally by the Denmark town Planning Board since it was proposed before the Article 10 process was implemented, and turbine installation is expected later this year.
Several north country municipalities have adopted resolutions opposing further wind development in the Fort Drum region out of concern for possible negative impacts on weather and aviation radar systems. However, Lewis County officials have taken a more moderate approach, supporting the possibility of new wind development while addressing interference issues with new technology or other means.
When asked about the Fort Drum radar issue, Mr. Miller said his company is awaiting further feedback from the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies.
Included in Invenergy’s filing of more than 150 documents, diagrams and studies is a preliminary draft on Fort Drum weather and airspace radar systems dated Oct. 12.
The four-page document denotes the problems posed by turbines on the two radar systems and lists some potential solutions for both. For weather radar, it mentions adjusting turbine location or height to minimize blades in the radar bands, developing a software update that filters out wind turbine “ground clutter,” integrating precipitation data from new ground-based Mesonet stations in the wind farm area into weather forecasts or moving the radar station or installing a second one. For aviation radar, it mentions developing software upgrades to better filter “ground clutter,” upgrading software to fuse data from radar systems at Fort Drum and Utica, installing new infill radar that would be able to better filter out turbines or installing a phased array radar.
Wind developers who sign the document would agree to make monetary contributions to help with mitigation.
Lowville town officials recently agreed to several waivers of its zoning law for the project, including allowing an overhead line from the proposed wind farm’s switchyard down to Route 26; however, they required that the section between Route 26 and Route 812 be buried to address visual concerns raised by East Road residents.
Hard copies of the Article 10 application may be reviewed at the local Invenergy office at 7568 S. State St., Lowville, the Lowville municipal building at 5533 Bostwick St., the Lowville Free Library at 5387 Dayan St. and the Harrisburg municipal building at 7886 Cobb Road, Copenhagen.
It may also be accessed online at http://wdt.me/NumberThreeWind.
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