The first in what is expected to be a series of public presentations and hearings on a proposed 124-megawatt wind farm in eastern Broome County is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29.
An afternoon and evening session is scheduled for the Windsor Community House, as project sponsors are expected to brief the community on the 33-turbine installation in the Town of Sanford and Windsor.
Proposed by Calpine Energy of Houston, the company has been laying the groundwork for the wind far for more than two years, recently submitting a formal application to the New York Public Service Commission, setting in motion a lengthy regulatory review.
Public comment on the project will be received at the hearing by administrative law judges representing the PSC and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The initial public forum is scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by a public comment session at 3 p.m., with a similar evening session scheduled for 6 p.m.
Bluestone Wind Farm will be Calpine’s first project in New York.
Wind power represents just over 4 percent of New York’s 39,000 megawatt peak generation capacity. Several wind farms now dot the state landscape, but the number is expected to expand as Gov. Andrew Cuomo promotes renewable energy sources as part of his goal to produce 50 percent the state’s electric power from sustainable sources by 2030.
Sponsors of the 124-megawatt wind farm planned for eastern Broome County will locate 29 of them in the Town of Sanford and four in the Town of Windsor, according to plans filed with the state.
Exact locations of the towers were revealed last year in preliminary documents filed with the PSC.
At some sites, it appears the turbines will be visible from Route 17. All locations are north of Route 17 in an area about eight miles across and about four miles wide.
In the Town of Windsor, two turbines will be north of Page Road and two with be north of Sky Lake Road.
Towers will be spread across the Town of Sanford, with 18 turbines west of Route 41 and 11 to the east.
Aside from the towers, the project will include access roads to the turbines, along with electric collection lines, a substation, among other facilities to be included in construction.
A project price tag has not been released. Electricity to power an estimated 20,000 households won’t be generated from the project until at least 2020, if approved.
In prime natural gas drilling territory, New York is encouraging the development of renewable energy projects with incentives and tax credits as part of Cuomo’s plan to reduce the state’s carbon footprint..
In a twist, some of the same landowners leasing hilltop locations to Calpine are among same group that signed a $90 million, $2,411 an acre deal from XTO Energy for natural gas drilling lease rights in May 2008. Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas was barred in New York four years ago, and the natural gas lease rights for the property have since expired.
Calpine will lease land for the turbines, some of which can reach nearly 600 feet in height from base to top tip of the blade. A previously-released disclosure document indicates lease payments for land owners hosting the turbines will be between $2,500 and $30,000 annually by Calpine for the right to build a turbine on their property.
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