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Wind farm project in Broome still in the works: Here’s how to comment on the plan

New York regulators are conducting a public comment session Thursday in Windsor to gather comments on a request for “a lightened regulatory regime” on issues related to Calpine’s 124-megawatt wind energy project in eastern Broome County.

Calpine wants to install 27 turbines – four in the Town of Windsor, and 23 in the Town of Sanford – capable of producing enough electricity to supply about 90,000 homes. The turbines will measure, at maximum, nearly 670 feet from the base of the tower to the uppermost tip of the blade. A typical cellphone tower stands 100 to 200 feet high.

In addition to getting permission to site the turbines in the two towns, Calpine needs certification from New York regulators that it is a sanctioned participant in New York’s power generation pool.

Thursday’s session has been called to address that question in response to the sponsor’s request that both the wind farm permit and permission to be certified as a generator be addressed concurrently to speed the review process. The public comment period is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at Windsor High School.

Despite the limited scope of this review, it is fully expected that Thursday’s public comment period will generate discussion on the acceptability of the entire project, which has been subject to controversy since first proposed three years ago.

The project, known as Bluestone, is now undergoing an extensive review process by the state Public Service Commission. A decision on whether the installation will get the go-ahead is expected by the end of the year.

Despite the vocal local opposition to the plan, the state’s Department of Public Service has concluded that, with modifications recommended by staff, the project can be “constructed and operated without significant adverse impacts and with adequate financial assurances … and would be in the public interest.”
Other ways to comment

For those who cannot attend or prefer not to speak at the public statement hearings, there are several other ways to provide your comments to the Siting Board. Comments should refer to “Case 19-E-0121, Bluestone Wind.” Although comments will be accepted throughout the pendency of this proceeding, they are requested by Nov. 15, 2019.

Email or mail: Comments may also be submitted via email to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at secretary@dps.ny.gov, or by mail or delivery to Secretary Burgess at the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350. Your comments should specify that they are intended for Case 19-E-0121 – Bluestone Wind.

Toll-Free opinion line: Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Department of Public Service’s Opinion Line at 800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24-hours a day. Callers leaving comments should reference Case 19-E-0121 – Bluestone Wind Project. Telephonic comments are not transcribed verbatim, but a summary is provided to the examiners, who will report to the commission.

All written comments will become part of the record and will be reported to the Siting Board for its consideration. All written comments may be accessed on the Department of Public Service website at www.dps.ny.gov. Click the “Search” button on the home page, and then enter “19-E-0121” in the space provided for searching by case number; then view the “Public Comments” tab.

Bluestone Wind’s petition to the commission also may be viewed online at the Department of Public Service website at www.dps.ny.gov. Click the “Search” button on the home page and then enter “19-E-0121” in the space provided for searching by case number.