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State requires more information on Number Three Wind project

LOWVILLE – Developers of the Number Three Wind Farm will need to address a laundry list of issues with the application before the project can undergo a state review.

“The deficiencies identified must be remedied before the Application can be deemed to comply” with state Public Service Law and a public hearing may be held, wrote John B. Rhodes, who chairs the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, in a recent letter to Invenergy Wind North America.

The letter from Mr. Rhodes, who also chairs the state Department of Public Service, also includes 19 pages of deficiencies identified by multiple state agencies that are to be addressed before the application will be deemed complete and the home stretch of the state Article 10 review process may progress.

“We are working closely with the agencies to clarify and address the items they listed and hope to have responses turned in within about six weeks,” Marguerite Wells of Invenergy said by email.

Invenergy, based in Chicago, in January filed an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need on its 105.7-megawatt project, making it the first wind project in Lewis County to reach that stage in the Article 10 process.

The company is proposing between 31 and 43 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. The final number of towers will depend primarily on whether the majority of turbines used are 2.5-megawatt models or 3.6-megawatt ones, Invenergy officials have said.

The project area is 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 for that project is expected later this year.

Mr. Rhodes’ letter identifies issues with several exhibits Invenergy provided in its application, including ones on land use, wind power facilities, preliminary design drawings, construction, public health and safety, noise and vibration, water resources and aquatic ecology, visual resources, geology, local ordinances and electric interconnection.

It also seeks information on possible cumulative effects with neighboring wind farms and the status of consultations with the Fort Drum Mitigation Response Team over potential impacts on air and ground maneuvers, digital air space radar at the Wheeler Sack Army Airfield and any related issues, as well as seeking more information about effect on communications.

State officials are requesting a detailed modeling of potential impacts on the Montague weather radar station and radar operations at Fort Drum, including a “detailed examination of the effects and impacts of lowest elevation scan contamination” from 10 turbines identified by the National Weather Service as having the highest probability of hindrance. They also note that Invenergy’s application does not identify the state’s mesoscale weather network stations in Copenhagen and Harrisburg in discussions of impact on weather radar and prediction.

The 126-megawatt Cassadaga Wind Farm in Chautauqua County in December became the first project approved through the Article 10 process, and a few others, including the Galloo Island Wind project in Jefferson County, submitted applications last fall. Mr. Rhodes in November provided Apex Clean Energy with a 20-page listing of deficiencies on its 108.9-megawatt Galloo Island project, and Apex officials recently submitted a letter arguing its application should now be deemed complete.