CANISTEO – The winds of change are blowing in Canisteo, as a massive wind energy project moves towards breaking ground in the near future.
On Tuesday, Invenergy, the company behind the proposed Canisteo Wind Farm, held an open house to offer information to the public at their hub in Canisteo. It was the fourth open house they had held.
The New York State Siting Board, charged with deciding the final size, scope and location of wind energy projects, mandates that several such meetings be held in accordance with the Article 10 process.
Marguerite Wells, Manager of Renewable Development for Invenergy, noted the event’s importance.
“It’s important to get in front of people and let them know about the project as it gets updated. We recently submitted a siting application, and that’s a lot of new information we want to get out there,” she said. “There have been a few small changes to the layout.”
Those changes include fewer turbine sites proposed, shrinking from 127 to 122.
The size of the project is still impressive, producing a capacity of 290 Megawatts of energy, and will span an area of 28,000 acres in the towns of Canisteo, Jasper, Greenwood, Cameron, Troupsburg and West Union when completed.
The project recently took some significant steps forward, submitting a preliminary scoping statement last year. Now, project developers hope to be under construction sometime in 2020.
In the meantime, intervenor funds, available to municipalities and other effected parties, can now be applied for to cope with the costs of hiring attorneys, consultants or other experts to advise in the process.
The open house event was well attended, with dozens of interested parties milling around large presentation boards with information about what the project may look like after building, maps of turbine locations, article 10 application documents, noise study maps and details of where the transmission line will be located.
“We get all sorts of input, but it’s been very well received. There are always some people who don’t like wind projects and that’s true here as well, but a large majority of residents are excited about it, and that’s why we have roughly 30,000 acres signed on,” she said, citing tax base stabilization as a primary driver of support.
“We hope people realize that there is a lot more information available out there, and now know how to find it,” Wells said.
However, the Canisteo Wind Farm was not without its detractors on Tuesday, as some vowed to “Fight the Power.” Members of Citizens for Maintaining Our Rural Environment (CMORE) were present to inform the public of their worries about the project.
The group has established a website, www.saveruralsteuben.com, as well as a Facebook page, and sent 3,500 post cards to county residents opposing the project.
“I’m all for green energy. I have a small wind turbine myself, but my problem is that it’s right in my neighborhood. A lot of people say ‘Not in my backyard’ but it’s right in my front yard, my back yard, my side yard and my barn yard. You can’t get away from it,” said Canisteo resident Larry Newhart.
“They’re putting 600 foot turbines 1,000 feet away from people’s doors. Our biggest concerns are the noise, shadow-flicker and the distance you can see them from,” organizer Mona Meagher detailed. “Thirty-two people have not been notified that they will get over 32 hours of shadow-flicker. The public has been way under-informed, and we’re concerned.”
James Koegel, of Canisteo, criticized the fact that landowner contracts are not subject to public scrutiny.
“I have four windmills proposed around me. Their [literature] never shows a picture of a windmill anywhere near a dwelling,” stated Rexville resident Karl Schneider.
Anyone with further questions about the proposed Canisteo Wind Farm can stop into the Invenergy office on South Main Street in Canisteo to view application materials and maps, visit www.canisteowinds.com for more information, or check out the public docket with the Department of Public Services (DPS) online.
Another open house will be held today, from 10 a.m. to noon.
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