LOWVILLE – Significant changes were made to the Deer River wind project after the pre-application procedures were completed, as Atlantic Wind takes the next step forward in the state’s approval process known as Article 10.
Avangrid Renewables, Atlantic Wind’s parent company, announced in a written notice mailed in early January that the company would be filing its application for a “certificate of environmental compatibility and public need” with the state siting boards for electric generation and the environment.
The number of wind turbines has been cut from 40 to 25 and there will only be one permanent meteorological tower rather than three, according to Paul N. Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid, in response to a request for information about changes in the project in the heart of Tug Hill.
The turbines are now planned only for the towns of Pinckney and Harrisburg, with Montague removed from the original site list for the project, Mr. Copleman said.
The wind-powered energy plant will still connect to National Grid’s 115-kilovolt transmission line in Rodman, as in the description of the project filed in May 2017 with the siting boards, officially known as the preliminary scoping statement.
Mr. Copleman wrote that the reasons Montague is no longer part of the project is because of “environmental concerns, constructability, setback distances, landowner participation constraints and discussions with Fort Drum.”
The removal of 15 turbines from the project’s scope was, according to Mr. Copleman, a decision made “after further investigation and consultation with a number of community members and other stakeholders and in an effort to optimize the layout.”
To avoid damage to wetlands, some of the 25 turbines remaining in the project have also been relocated, Mr. Copleman wrote.
Perhaps the most significant change to the Deer River project is the height of turbines being considered for the project. Mr. Copleman wrote that Atlantic is thinking about using taller turbines than indicated in the scoping document because they offer a larger rotor diameter.
“The added height allows the rotor to access stronger, steadier winds and generate an equivalent amount of clean energy with fewer turbines,” Mr. Copleman wrote.
By using taller turbines, the wind plant is projected to still have 100 megawatts in the revised project plan.
According to Mr. Copleman, the heights of turbines Atlantic and Avangrid are considering are 492.2, 567.6, and 590.6 feet tall.
Turbine height and the potential for interference with radar have been at the center of debate in a number of wind projects going through the approval process, including Three Winds, another Avangrid project.
“We are also developing, in close consultation with Fort Drum and the Defense Department, a draft mitigation agreement which proposes curtailment, or turning off the turbines, during periods of severe weather,” Mr. Copleman wrote.
The statement from Avangrid said they would be supplying $101,400, for intervenor funding after filing their application, with 50 percent reserved for municipalities.
For more information, contact the state department of public service at 518-474-7080, or call Avangrid at 315-874-4231. The Avangrid office is at 7650 N. State St. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.