CHATEAUGAY –– The company that is proposing to build a wind farm in the town of Burke –– a proposal that ignited fierce opposition after the town amended its wind law –– has approached Chateaugay officials about expanding the project into the northern part of the town.
“It appears that this project would benefit by extending into north Chateaugay,” Mark Lyons of RES Group wrote in an email to town Supervisor Don Bilow. The exact locations of any potential project has not yet been determined, Lyons wrote, although he said the project would be north of U.S. Route 11.
“Preliminary indications are that as many as 13 turbines could be safely sited in north Chateaugay, which would generate over $500,000 annually in PILOT and Host Community payments,” Lyons wrote.
Lyons acknowledged that a “good deal of work would need to happen” before the company could present a solid proposal, but he said the project would require the town to amend its local law governing wind towers in the same way Burke officials did.
Current town law limits the height of wind towers to 400 feet; the Town Board granted the developers of the Jericho Rise Wind Farm an exemption that allowed the construction of towers that reach nearly 500 feet at the tip of the turbine blade. Lyons said the turbines his company hopes to install would have a blade-tip height of 675 feet.
The taller towers would enable the company to generate more electricity with fewer turbines, Lyons wrote.
To accommodate the taller towers, Burke officials have approved a change in that town’s wind farm law permitting towers of up to 725 feet tall. The move was controversial, with dozens of people packing the town hall to protest the change and prompting challenges to the three Town Board members who are up for re-election this year –– even though two of the three recused themselves from the vote.
The taller towers would require the town to revamp its setback requirements, Lyons noted.
Lyons also acknowledged that existing wind farms have been the subject of noise complaints but said the new turbines his company would install would be “significantly quieter” than the existing turbines. He cited more stringent noise restrictions under the state’s Article 10 which would govern the project, as well as advances in turbine technology and the fact that revised setbacks would move the towers even farther away from residential areas that might be affected.
“The question we would like to pose to you and your Board is whether you would have an interest in considering a possible proposed project using taller turbines with less impacts, and are willing to consider amending you Wind Law to allow for this possibility,” Lyons wrote.
Town officials had no comment on the RES request on Monday, saying they wanted to review the proposal first.
Chateaugay is already the home to two wind farms –– Jericho Rise, which extends into the town of Bellmont, and the Noble Chateaugay farm. It is also listed as the potential site of EDP Renewables’ 200-megawatt North Slope Wind project in Franklin and Clinton counties, according to the New York Independent System Operator interconnection queue –– a list of proposed energy-generating projects that will need to be connected to the power grid in the state.
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